Tag Archives: Coronarvirus

COVID Roundup: Hoops; VFW; Rocks; More

As gyms, playgrounds and recreational facilities remain closed, the driveway basketball hoop looks better than ever. There are tons in Westport. Some get plenty of use. Others sit idle; the basketball players have moved away.

Full Court Peace is a Norwalk-based charity that collects unwanted portable basketball hoops, cleans them up, then gives them to boys and girls in Norwalk, Bridgeport and Stamford.

The organization was started by Mike Evans, a Weston native who played basketball at Hamilton College and semi-professionally in Belfast. In Northern Ireland he brought Protestant and Catholic boys together to play as one team.

Email mike@fullcourtpeace.org with your name, address, and a picture of the hoop you hope to donate. Evans will pick it up at your house, and set it up in a driveway a few miles away. Then he’ll send you a photo of the boy or girl who gets it.

Financial help is welcome to keep this effort going; it requires a U-Haul and manual labor. Click here to help.

Like many local organizations, the Joseph J. Clinton Veterans of Foreign of Wars Post 399 has been closed, and lost access to funds.

But there’s good news. The VFW says: “We are honored and extends our deepest appreciation to the Westport Young Woman’s League for awarding us a generous Super Grant of $20,000. Throughout the past 100 years, VFW Post 399 has been the heart and soul of the veteran community and a Westport institution.

The Super Grant will make a huge difference in helping with our much needed roof repairs and allowing us to continue in our support for both veterans and community. We look forward in partnering with the WYWL to help the community and provide affordable meal programs.”

Stones bearing inspirational messages pop up all over town. This one at Grace Salmon Park caught Marc Frankel’s eye.

I’m guessing whoever painted this was young. If I were an art teacher, I’d give him or her an “A” for creativity. An English teacher would give it an “F.”

And finally … a little Spirit. “It’s nature’s way of telling you something’s wrong …”

A Taxing Situation

Paul Rohan has lived in Westport for 40 years. A retired CPA, he practiced in both Connecticut and New York.

Last week he emailed me. He notes a double state income tax issue that may affect commuters to New York who now work from home. He says:

While my practice was never in taxation (but rather in financial reporting and auditing), I long ago became aware of this issue. It emerged when personal computers first made working from home a real possibility — not the rarity it was when limited to relatively rare blizzards or hurricanes that precluded commuting for a day or two.

With extremely limited exceptions, New York takes the view that state income taxes for non-residents are due for all work done on behalf of New York-based employers, regardless of where the work is performed.

Paul Rohan

Connecticut takes the view that for Connecticut residents, all work performed in Connecticut is subject to Connecticut income tax, regardless of where the employer might be located. Thus a Connecticut resident employed by a New York employer is subject to state income tax in both New York and Connecticut for all work done at home. Connecticut will recognize a credit for New York income taxes paid only if the work actually was performed outside of Connecticut.

Many articles have been written on the subject in tax accounting and legal publications. The best description — from the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research — fully addresses the issue, and references the Zelinsky case that was decided by the New York appeals court. (Click here to see.)

My concern is for the many “06880” commuter readers who work for New York employers. Like most people, those readers may be completely unaware of the conflicting positions taken on working from home by the states of New York and Connecticut. At 2020 tax return filing time, they will have a huge surprise. Being forced to pay state income taxes to both Connecticut and New York for the same work performed at home is, in my view, unconscionable.

Making this issue known at this time might force politicians on both sides of the  state line to get together and solve this problem once and for all. Over the years since working from home became more commonplace, many articles have appeared in tax accounting publications about this. They mention various politicians at the state and federal levels who have expressed interest and concern, but the issue remains largely unresolved.

Tax forms can be daunting for anyone.

Since governors in New York and Connecticut claim to be coordinating all their efforts related to the pandemic and its economic effects, perhaps now would be a good time to ask those who represent us to help solve this unfair state tax dilemma.

This issue has been created for many readers as a direct result of following the both the Connecticut and New York governors, who have adamantly asked employees to work from home. It seems grossly unfair that compliance with those executive orders should have such a high price tag — the unintended consequence of double taxation.

Of course, since both states are strapped for cash, this may present their leaders with a convenient mechanism to cash in on the crisis, by claiming they are only following the laws and regulations as they exist.

NOTE: After sending his original email, Paul followed up the next day. He wrote:

“New York State is planning on taxing out-of-state emergency healthcare workers who came into the state at the urgent request of the governor. The governor’s position is that since tax regulations call for anyone working 14 days or more in the state is subject to the New York State non-resident income tax, they will be required to pay that tax—no exceptions.”

Woman’s Club Grants Go To Groups With COVID Need

Since 1907 — 10 years before the Spanish flu pandemic – the Westport Woman’s Club has served Westport.

They’ve done too many good things for the town to list (click here for the “History” page).

Just one example: Westport’s Visiting Nurse Service was started and funded by the club. Free dental, vaccination and well-child clinics;tuberculosis campaigns; free milk distribution; polio tests; a lending service of sickroom equipment – all were begun by the WWC.

Each year the club evaluates applications for Community Service Grants from nonprofit organizations in Fairfield County. Members volunteer many hours from October through spring, finding the right balance between needs and the WWC’s mission to support nearby charitable, educational, cultural and public health services.

At the end of this year’s cycle, COVID-19 roared through town. Club members wondered how they could now make the biggest impact for the most people in Fairfield County. They realized that the public health, and physical and mental well-being of residents, should take precedence in the spring grants.

Today they announce 5 non-profits, to share $50,000 in WWC Community Service Grants.

Bridgeport Rescue Mission provides 3 meals a day in containers; a mobile kitchen that distributes meals in South Norwalk and Bridgeport, and a food pantry, among many other services. All food programs are free to anyone who is hungry, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or socioeconomic group.


Filling in the Blanks. Schools offer weekday lunches for children in need. This organization provides them on weekends for vulnerable children in Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich and Westport.

Westport Families in Need (coordinated by Westport’s Department of Human Services). Funds are needed for food and requests for help, like rent money, which are increasing rapidly. Some families need gas cards to pick up school meals. A town COVID fund addresses those issues, as well as the mental health needs of people affected by the crisis.

Domestic Violence Crisis Center (Stamford and Norwalk). In stressful times, domestic violence increases. DVCC offers 24/7 crisis intervention, counseling and advocacy, safe housing, and a 24-hour hotline (888-774-2900).

Homes with Hope. The demands of this Westport nonprofit — which provides safe emergency shelter, as well as food assistance — have greatly increased during the coronavirus.

Project Return’s “Susie’s House,” on North Compo Road. All residents — and those at other supportive housing facilities, like the Gillespie Center — have been moved into local hotels, during the coronavirus. That’s another financial burden for Homes with Hope

The Westport Woman’s Club has not been immune to the pandemic’s effects. They’ve suspended all fundraisers (like the Art Show, originally scheduled for this weekend), closed their Curio Cottage Gift Shop, and lost rental income through the closing of their Bedford Hall meeting space.

Anyone wishing to support the 113-year-old club’s good works can do so through the newly designed website (click here).

One good thing from all this time at home: Members had a chance to create an Instagram account. You can follow the club: @westportwomansclub.

Westport Woman’s Club, 44 Imperial Avenue.