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VOL. 122 | NO. 33 | Thursday, February 22, 2007

Daily Digest

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Mayor's Plan Meets With Some Optimism, Skepticism

     Icons in Memphis for more than 40 years, Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and Mid-South Coliseum are obsolete, says Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.
     As hundreds of people jammed into city hall Tuesday, he told the Memphis City Council it's time to bid farewell to these historic landmarks that have anchored the Mid-South Fairgrounds since the 1960s.

Northern Tool Buildout Under Way at Former Kmart

     A tenant buildout is under way for a Northern Tool & Equipment Co. in a renovated shopping center at Summer Avenue and White Station Road, with a $2.5 million building permit filed with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement.
     The architect for the project is Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects and the contractor is Flintco Inc., said Shawn Massey, broker for The Shopping Center Group's Memphis office and leasing agent for the property. The owner is Grace Development Inc.The project is the renovation of a former Kmart and Kroger on the site at a total cost of about $11.5 million, Massey said. Northern Tool is slated to move into its 27,500-square-foot space in July or August.
     The permit is for construction the landlord, Summer Commons LP, is doing on behalf of Northern Tool, Massey said, adding the property will be turned over to Northern Tool sometime in April, and it will take that company about 120 days to finish its work.
     In addition to the Northern Tool location, a 17,000-square-foot space is under contract with Gordin's Save-A-Lot Supermarket. Massey said a third space is close to being under contract. Summer Commons LP bought the property in February 2006. For details, see The Daily News' Dec. 8 digest at www.memphisdailynews.com.

Bredesen Delivers Budget To General Assembly

     Gov. Phil Bredesen on Tuesday delivered his Fiscal Year 2007-2008 budget proposal to the General Assembly. The $27.48 billion budget funds key priorities in education, job creation, public safety and conservation, as well as other programs.
     "We're ready to take the next steps to seize the future for ourselves, for our children and for our children's children, and to do this we must start with education," Bredesen said in a statement. "We've put forth a balanced budget that asks for new classroom investments while offering a recurring revenue source to fund them."
     Features of the budget proposal include $584 million in education, $85.7 million for employee pay increases (1 percent salary increase for state employees and higher education, plus a 2 percent one-time bonus), $72.6 million for Alternative Fuels Initiative, $45.1 million for Next Steps Jobs Package, $10 million for Heritage Conservation Trust Fund and $505 million for Capital Outlay projects (including $7 million for the University of Memphis Land Bank).
     The FY 2007-2008 budget is a 3.5 percent increase over FY 2006-2007, with an increase in state funding of 6.8 percent and an increase in federal funding of 1 percent. With an appropriation of $7.58 billion, TennCare represents 28 percent of the total budget, with Pre K-12 education and higher education combining for 29 percent of the budget.
     Budget details are available at www.tennesseeanytime.org/govfiles/0708StateBudget.pdf.

Governor's Book Program Receives Check and Support

     The Governor's Books from Birth Foundation (GBBF) announced Wednesday it has received a $100,000 donation from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The donation is in conjunction with a statewide collaboration with Wal-Mart to support Imagination Library programs in all 95 Tennessee counties, as well as other related foundation charitable projects.
     Created in 1996 by Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn., the Imagination Library provides a new, age-appropriate, hardcover book every month to children from birth to age 5 at no cost to their families and regardless of income. In 2004, Gov. Phil Bredesen created the Governor's Books from Birth Foundation to establish, strengthen and sustain Imagination Library programs throughout the state.
     Any child in Tennessee younger than 5 may be registered for the Imagination Library and begin receiving a free, age-appropriate hardcover book in the mail, addressed to the child, every month.
     More than 157,000 children currently are registered in the program and will receive a free book this month. Almost 35,000 Tennessee 5-year-olds already have graduated from the Imagination Library since its inception, meaning the program has served nearly 192,000 Tennessee children since the creation of the Governor's Foundation in 2004.

Miller Joins Baker Donelson

     Intellectual property attorney Samuel Miller has joined the Memphis officer of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC. Miller joins Baker Donelson as an associate.
     He graduated from the Indiana University School of Law in 2003. Miller practices in the area of intellectual property law. In this practice area, he represents businesses in a variety of matters, including patent, copyright and trademark infringement, as well as contract disputes and other business tort cases. 
     Miller is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association as well as the American, Tennessee, Nashville and Memphis Bar associations.

IRS Sheds Light On Dirty Dozen

     The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has identified 12 scams called the "Dirty Dozen" that affect taxpayers and is warning people not to fall for the schemes.
     The most common scam that criminal investigators and IRS auditors have run across is inflated refund requests related to the telephone excise tax refund available to most taxpayers this filing season.
     The excise refund allows taxpayers to request a 3 percent refund on long distance and bundled service, but government officials say some tax preparers are helping their clients file improper requests.
     Government officials also have been investigating abuses related to the American Indian Employment Credit, disguised corporate ownership and other scams.
     Another of the "dirty dozen" scams involves return preparer fraud, in which dishonest return preparers either skim a portion of their clients' refunds and then charge dishonest fees or by encouraging their clients to file fraudulent claims for refunds.
     Suspected tax fraud may be reported to the IRS using IRS Form 3949-A, Information Referral. Form 3949-A is available for download from the IRS Web site at IRS.gov, or by mail by calling 800-829-3676.
     
     Dirty Dozen scams of 2007:
     1. Telephone Excise Tax Refund Abuses
     2. Abusive Roth IRAs
     3. Phishing
     4. Disguised Corporate Ownership
     5. Zero Wages
     6. Return Preparer Fraud
     7. American Indian Employment Credit
     8. Trust Misuse
     9. Structured Entity Credits
     10. Abuse of Charitable Organizations and Deductions
     11. Form 843 Tax Abatement
     12. Frivolous Arguments
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 23 23 1,365
MORTGAGES 21 21 1,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 6 6 196
BUILDING PERMITS 117 117 3,173
BANKRUPTCIES 42 42 795
BUSINESS LICENSES 2 2 331
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0