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Thursday, March 23, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Let the race begin!

Editor’s Notebook: Let the race begin!

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The sainted Mama McCaffrey, back when she was single and ready to mingle in the D.C. of the early 1960s, worked at the IRS national headquarters, and one of her tasks, apparently, was to double check the famous phrase that Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said about taxes.

The phrase was about to be stenciled into the headquarters building, and the muckety-mucks – obviously – wanted it to be right.

Mama McCaffrey made sure it was: “Taxes are What We Pay for a Civilized Society” remains to this day engraved upon the building.

(And for the record, the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was apparently no relation to Oliver Wendell Douglas, the character played by Eddie Albert in the somewhat surreal 1960s sitcom “Green Acres.” But I digress …)


What does this have to do with anything? Only that my tax returns are now done and in the mail (yes, I still mail them) to both the feds and the state, which sets up the annual horserace to get my modest refunds back to me.

I am not a complete Luddite: I am getting the refunds direct-deposited to save time. While preferring the feel of a gub’mint check in my hands, one has to keep up with the times.

Ordinarily, the state government wins the race, but never count the IRS out. They’ve been not too bad some years.

WHAT WILL THE RATIO BE ON SATURDAY? A community leader who shall go unnamed saw our coverage that four of five Arlington School Board members went commando (maskless) at their board meeting last week.

“How many on the County Board will do the same at their next meeting?” she posited.

Good question.

Even though County Board members have been masked up on the dais for months, they still have been sitting so far apart they might as well be in different ZIP codes. School Board members, by contrast, were in pretty close proximity when those masks came off last week.

I’ll make a bold, and probably wrong, prediction: Three of the five County Board members will be sans mask. I even know the two I think are going to keep them on, but that I will keep to myself.

Not being so great on prognostications, I’m not going to put any money on this with those of you who have your own guesses. Just throwing mine out there.

‘OBE’ USUALLY WAS RIGHT: Here’s one from the wayback machine, going back to this week in 1978.

In one of the editions that week, Herman Obermayer – then the owner/publisher/editor of the Northern Virginia Sun – opined that the attempt by the District of Columbia government to impose a “commuter tax” on those who lived outside the District in Maryland, Virginia and elsewhere was both “impractical and unjust.”

I’d say that “Obe” as he was known (pronounced oh-bee) was right on that.

The D.C. government did ultimately impose such a tax, but it was struck down in the courts. No word if those who had been forced to pay it got refunds.

– Scott McCaffrey

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