Friday 10 | 27 | 2017The GOP Tax Plan for 2018, as proposed, purportedly will reduce taxes for the middle quintile of tax payers by 7.2%, by 9.8% for the lowest quintile and by 8.6% for all tax payers. It’s not that simple as the tax code is more complicated. Under the current tax plan, you can take deductions for the taxes you pay in state and local income taxes, real estate taxes, and personal property taxes. The proposed plan, as of October 27, eliminates those deductions. You could be paying less taxes under the current plan depending on how much you pay in taxes to state and local government. Many details still need to be worked out. Eliminating the home mortgage interest deduction is under consideration and the National Association of Realtors is fighting to retain that deduction. If eliminated, it could have far reaching financial impact leading to mortgage defaults. Property owners have to pay their income taxes or go to jail, not so with their mortgage obligation. Keep an eye on both hands of the magicians performing in congress. They likely will have you focus on the percentage of alledged tax reduction while eliminating your deductions.Thursday 10 | 26 | 2017In recent years, methodology used to measure unemployment have been altered to produce “feel good” results. So, what is the real picture regarding the northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia region? A greater understanding of the employment trend can be obtained by review of the actual number of employed over time. The region has been split into two Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) that require study, the Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA SMA and the Johnson City, TN MSA. Totaling the two areas produces the following results. In 2007 total employment was 234,109 for both SMAs and declined to 217,311 by May of 2017, resulting in 16,798 jobs lost. Mining and manufacturing appear to have been hardest hit and those jobs produced higher pay than the many retail and food industry jobs that filled some of the jobs lost gap.