Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Daily Citizen-News on the federal income tax filing deadline extension:
For many people who have procrastinated, panic sets in during the middle of this month --most years -- as they scramble to file their state and federal tax returns by the usual date of April 15.
But 2021, much like 2020, isn’t like most years. Your federal and state tax returns aren’t due Thursday, thanks to a time extension of a little over a month.
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced last month the federal income tax filing due date for individuals for the 2020 tax year was extended from April 15 to Monday, May 17. The Georgia Department of Revenue made the same filing date change.
Last year, the tax filing deadline was pushed back some three months to July 15 due to COVID-19.
“This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a press release on March 17. “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to.”
Individual taxpayers who need more time to file beyond the May 17 deadline can request a filing extension until Oct. 15 by filing form 4868 through a tax professional, tax software or by using the Free File link on IRS.gov. That form allows taxpayers until Oct. 15 to file their 2020 tax return, but does not give them more time to pay taxes due. Taxpayers should pay their federal income tax due by May 17 to avoid interest and penalties.
Federal and state officials realize the pandemic is far from over, giving filers a bit of a cushion to get their tax documents together and file their returns. The extra time will be a godsend for many Georgians as we all continue to navigate through these difficult times.
We encourage you to gather your necessary documents and file your tax returns so that the middle of May doesn’t turn into a panicky part of the month.
The Brunswick News on bipartisanship:
Bipartisanship is such a rare occurrence in today’s polarizing political world that it merits a tip of the hat when we see examples. This time, working together helped save an estimated 2,600 jobs in the state.
The story begins in an unlikely place — a dispute between two South Korean electric vehicle battery manufacturers. LG Energy filed a lawsuit before the U.S. International Trade Commission against SK Innovation for stealing trade secrets and destroying documents.
How does that involve Georgia? SK Innovation is in the process of building a pair of plants in Jackson County, Ga., but it threatened to walk away from those plans if the Trade Commission ruled in favor of LG.
Before the rubber had to meet the road, the two sides were able to reach a deal with SK Innovation paying LG $1.8 billion in exchange for LG dropping the suit.
How did the deal come about? Let’s start with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
Kemp, a Republican, has kept the issue on the front burner, calling numerous times for the White House to intervene so that SK Innovation would move forward with its plans to build plants in Georgia. Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, told Capitol Beat News Service that the governor has been “tireless” in his efforts to resolve the situation.
On the other side of the aisle, Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Georgia, also intervened to help both parties reach an agreement. Jun Kim, president and CEO of SK Innovation, told Capitol Beat that Ossoff “provided leadership and helped us achieve a path forward.”
Thanks to the combined efforts of a Republican governor and a Democratic senator, thousands of jobs were saved for Georgians. Can you imagine what both sides could achieve if they worked together more often?
Maybe we could develop an immigration policy that balances the need for security with the moral responsibility to help our fellow man. Maybe we could find better solutions to the numerous complex problems facing our society.
Democrats and Republicans see themselves as adversaries, and that is why nothing gets done easily. What they all are, though, are elected officials chosen to do what’s best for the citizens that put them in those positions. That seems to be forgotten amid the fight for party supremacy.
What’s best for the country and state should always be the guiding principle for our leaders. Let’s hope everyone in Washington and Atlanta remembers that.
The Valdosta Daily Times on Autism Awareness Month:
April is Autism Awareness Month.
Autism is vastly misunderstood.
Autism can be difficult to define because Autism Spectrum Disorders describe a wide range of disorders with symptoms that vary in type and severity.
The Autism Speaks organization describes autism in the most general terms as “a group of complex disorders of brain development.”
According to Autism Speaks, the disorders can include “intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances.”
It is not uncommon for individuals with varying types of autism to excel in math, art, music or other areas.
Research has indicated there seems to be no singular cause of autism.
However, reports have indicated that genetic research is advancing quickly and, as a result, mutations that are associated with autism disorders are being identified.
In addition, experts have said there are environmental factors that seem to contribute to brain development and as scientists learn more about those factors, the disorder may, someday, become more preventable.
Symptoms most often begin to manifest between the ages of 2 and 3 and early intervention is critical in the management of the disorders, according to health care professionals.
Destigmatizing the disorder and raising awareness regarding the daily management of autism can go a long way toward helping families cope with the associated challenges.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies about one in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum.
According to Autism Speaks, studies also show autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated one out of 42 boys and one in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States. More than 3 million people in the United States live with some form of autism.
Autism has been called “the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S.”
We often fear or ignore things we do not understand that are outside of our comfort zone.
We may shy away from people who are different from us and close ourselves off to experiences that could enrich our lives in meaningful ways if we would just take the time to learn about those things we do not understand.
We are all different from each other in one way or another.
However, most of us will never face the life challenges faced every day by the families of children with autism. Rarely will you hear those families complain. Rather, they generally talk about the milestones they reach and small pleasures and joys in life that most of us simply take for granted.
As a community, we should increase our understanding and be more sensitive to families struggling to provide services to their children while being a part of the community without being looked upon with pity or even disdain.
While children and adults suffering from autism may be different in many ways, in other ways they are like all children — excitable, enjoying life and loving the hugs and encouragement from close friends and family members.
Do not close yourselves off to joys and fulfillment that can come from knowing people just because the challenges they face in life are different from your own.