March 27th – An actual father-son conversation:
My 14 year old son: “Dad, there are three things in life that I don’t understand.”
Me: “Only three?”
Son: “Well, at least three.”
Me: “OK, what are they?”
Son: “Well, No. 1, bluetooth.
“No. 2, where the wind comes from.
“Number 3 that came first, the color orange or the fruit orange?”
Me: “Hmm. Sounds like you’ve been thinking about these. Do they really bother you?”
“Actually. I was just thinking of something else. How do bath towels get dirty since you’re clean when you dry off?”
We all have things that we don’t understand. I included.
One day last week on a trip to the Hamilton County Courthouse, I received the answer to two long-standing riddles, and I feel compelled to pass the answers on.
Here are the questions:
# 1: Why Is Hamilton County So Difficult To Pass A Modest Property Tax Increase?
# 2: What happened to this law that says you need a special driver’s license to fly on a domestic flight? Did that go away with COVID?
Coincidentally, I know. But let me fix it.
So it came about that I recently got my Hamilton County tax bill. My mortgage was repaid and my monthly district tax payment plan was dead.
Most tenants and mortgage payers who transfer taxes through their loan payments may be vaguely aware of the county property tax payments. People with active mortgages often pay taxes through an escrow account that holds the money until the lender pays the annual tax bill when it is due.
Older residents like me who may have paid off their mortgages are different. We write a check for hundreds or thousands of dollars once a year to pay our taxes. Although we love county workers and we need service, this great check is still difficult to write.
This brings us back to the tax problem. A Venn diagram of older property owners who pay their property taxes at a flat rate and those who vote in state elections has a large overlap. That’s why increasing the tax rate, even a little, is a big political boost for district officials.
The story goes on
Now for puzzle # 2, the Real ID driver’s licenses we heard about. Yes, it’s time to worry about her again.
Unless there is further delay – always an option – Americans without a Real ID driver’s license (or valid U.S. passport) will no longer be able to board a domestic flight after October 1, 2021.
It should have done this last fall, but the deadline has been extended due to the pandemic.
If you don’t care for the next six months, that flight to Colorado to see the grandchildren for Thanksgiving could be in jeopardy.
To get real ID, you’ll need to show up in person, pay $ 12, and bring at least four pieces of identification. A government website (www.tn.gov/tnrealid.html) will tell you what to bring. You have a choice.
I took my passport, laminated 48-year-old Social Security card, receipt of Hamilton County property tax payment, and my current Tennessee driver’s license. It turned out that I needed all four of these documents – although there are substitutes you can use (e.g. a birth certificate instead of a passport).
Then just sit back and wait a few weeks for your Real ID license to arrive in the mail from the state government. You can even show it to your friends as it has a special gold star in the top left corner.
The origin of this goes back to the Real ID Act of 2005, which was introduced after the 9/11 Commission said we needed more secure documents to fly in the US.
And yes, your math is correct; It took 16 years for the deadline to pass. Provided it is not changed again.
Now my brain is looking for a new worry.
Do not worry. I will find one.
Email Mark Kennedy at [email protected].