Think of them as a bargain

There are at least two ways of looking critically at Britain's royal family. One is that some of its members have become a bit of an embarrassment in recent years due to their public behavior. The other way is that the royals live lavishly (and at public expense) compared to most other Britons - factoring in all their palaces, entertainment, travel, and the like. The expenses of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip alone last year were $66 million, up almost 2 percent from fiscal 2002, according to Buckingham Palace. But, taking inflation into account, the cost actually dropped by 1 percent, the newly released figures show. In case you were wondering, that averages out to $1.10 a year for every commoner. Or, as the keeper of the privy purse puts it, "less than two pints of milk."

Don't mind paying taxes? You'd love New England

When voters go to the polls in Maine Nov. 2, they won't only be helping to choose the next president of the US. They'll also decide a referendum on tax reform that, if it passes, will cap the levy on real estate at $10 per $1,000 of value - as assessed in 1996-97. Part of the impetus for the referendum is that Maine has the second-highest property taxes in the nation as a percentage of personal income, behind only New Hampshire, based on an analysis of 2000 data by the Census Bureau. (A separate analysis by the nonprofit Tax Foundation ranks Maine No. 1.) The measure has opponents, however, who say the findings are skewed because they count levies on vacation homes and timberland owned by persons or companies from out of state. The 10 states with the highest property taxes as a percentage of personal income, from the census data:
1. New Hampshire 4.9%
2. Maine 4.8%
3. Vermont 4.6%
4. New Jersey 4.5%
5. Rhode Island (tie) Montana 4.4%
7. Alaska 4.1%
8. Connecticut (tie) New York 3.8%
10. Wisconsin 3.7%
- Associated Press

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Etc...
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today