Money Matters - Simplified

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Taxes

COL FB: Oklahoma 62, Nebraska 28

Norman, Okla -- Sam Bradford threw five touchdown passes Saturday to lead the fourth-ranked Oklahoma Sooners to a 62-28 win over Nebraska.

Bradford completed 19-of-27 passes for 311 yards with one interception for Oklahoma (8-1, 4-1 Big 12), which has won three straight games since a 45-35 setback to Texas.

Quentin Chaney had five receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown and Jermaine Gresham caught two touchdown passes.

Joe Ganz completed 14-of-26 passes for 206 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions for the losing Cornhuskers (5-4). Roy Helu Jr. rushed for 157 yards and a TD on 16 carries.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International.

Ike's winds may hit Texas taxpayers

Houston -- Taxpayers in Texas may have to pony up about half of the tab for wind damage caused by Hurricane Ike, state officials said.

Currently, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has $2.1 billion available to pay for the storm's wind damage claims, about half of what it may need, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

"Rates are going to go up," state Rep. Craig Eiland said. "But, the immediate need is making sure people have the opportunity to file their claims."

The TWIA, created to help make windstorm insurance more affordable, has 142,566 policies and $42 billion in exposure, the newspaper reported. The bill expected from claims associated with Hurricane Ike could reach $4.2 billion, the Chronicle said.

Black Lab swallows 13 golf balls

Dunfermline, Scotland -- Chris Morrisonof Dunfermline, Scotland, noticed his Labrador retriever rattled when he walked, but had no idea the dog had swallowed 13 golf balls.

"I felt his stomach and heard them rattling around," said Morrison, who told The Daily Telegraph he regularly takes 5-year-old Oscar for a stroll on a golf course near his home. The black lab, he said, usually snoops around the ninth and 12th fairways for lost balls.

"The vet hadn't seen anything like it -- it was bizarre. I thought he might have had a couple in there, but not 13. He is a black Lab, so he is a fair size -- but to swallow 13 is quite amazing."

The balls were removed two weeks ago in an hour-long operation.

"It was like a magic trick," said veterinarian Bob Hesketh of nearby Rosyth.

Accounting change could pressure taxes

Washington-- An accounting change by U.S. actuaries could dramatically increase contributions needed to cover the cost of public employees' pension funds, analysts said.

The American Academy of Actuaries is considering new standards that would require local governments to provide two estimates of returns on investments made on behalf of public employee pension funds, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Most municipalities estimate returns on investments at 8 percent, about twice the amount federal regulations permit for private firms, the Post reported.

But, the estimate may be too high. The number of public pension budgets considered underfunded jumped fivefold to 40 percent in 2006, compared with 2000, the Government Accountability Office reported.

MLB: Houston 4, Cincinnati 1

Houston -- Roy Oswalt defeated Cincinnati for the 22nd time in his career Wednesday, carrying Houston to a 4-1 decision over the Reds.

Oswalt (12-9) allowed a run on five hits over seven innings. His career record against Cincinnati is a stunning 22-1.

Houston's runs came on two-run shots by Hunter Pence and Ty Wiggington.

Cincinnati has lost three out of four.

The loss went to Josh Fogg (2-7), who surrendered just two runs on six hits in six innings.

Pence's 19th homer of the season gave Houston a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

Wiggington's shot came in the seventh.

LaTroy Hawkins worked the eighth for the Astros and Jose Valverde struck out the side in the ninth for his 34th save.

Houston has won 13 of its last 15 meetings with Cincinnati.

Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment


With the real estate market in the doldrums and prices falling, many homeowners want to put a lid on their property tax assessments. Yet struggling local governments aren't in any hurry to mark down assessed values, especially in an area hit hard by the downturn. If you're in sticker shock over your recent assessment, here's a quick lesson on what to do about it.

Sastre takes stage, overall Tour lead

L'alpe D’Huez, France -- Carlos Sastre won the 17th stage of the Tour de France by more than 2 minutes Wednesday, earning his first stage win in five years and the overall tour lead.

Sastre last won a tour stage in 2003, but led Wednesday's race by healthy margins over the final 6 miles of the 126.3-mile run from Embrun to L'Alpe-d'Huez.

The run included three uncharacterized climbs, including one at L'Alpe d'Huez in the final 9 miles where Sastre was able to take control.

He was timed in 6 hours, 7 minutes, 58 seconds, which was 2:03 ahead of runner-up Samuel Sanchez and Andy Schleck, and 2:13 ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Frank Schleck.

Sastre began the day 48 seconds behind Frank Schleck, his Team CSC Savxo Bank teammate, in the overall standings. The stage win Wednesday made Sastre the seventh rider this year to wear the overall leader's yellow jersey.

USA basketball team has only one option

Beijing -- When it comes to U.S. Olympic basketball, it is no longer about extending a streak.

It is now all about pride. And perhaps some revenge.

The field for this year's Olympic men's basketball tournament contains the team that won the gold medal four years ago. That would be Argentina.

It also includes the current world champion, which would be Spain. Also present will be the team that eliminated the United States from the gold medal running in the 2006 world championship tournament. That would be Greece.

Finally, the team that won the 2002 world championships when they were held in the United States will be a part of the action in Beijing. That team is Serbia.

Yes, the Americans will be present as well. But until proven otherwise, Team USA has become just another hopeful among those fighting for Olympic supremacy.

What's a Dividend?


A dividend is�a portion of a company's earnings that the firm pays directly to its shareholders. If The Tattoo Advertising Co. (Ticker: YOWCH) is earning roughly $4 in profit per share each year, it might decide to issue $1�per share annually to shareholders, then use the rest of the money to help build the business. If so, it will probably pay out $0.25 per share every three months.

France, Italy opposed in fuel tax plan

Brussels -- Germany and various Scandinavian countries opposed French and Italian suggestions to use value-added taxes to lower fuel prices, officials said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said value-added taxes wouldn't solve all the problems of rising fuel prices "but at least that would be a response to a problem that we need to get a hand on."

Sarkozy and various leaders commented on the proposal after the first day of a European summit meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the EU Observer reported.

Germany, Finland, Denmark and Sweden stood opposed to the tax plan, while in Spain farmers took to the streets to demand relief from high gas prices, the report said.

"I would be reluctant to introduce short-term measures," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.