Presenting: Spring in a box!

Presenting: Spring in a box!

Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama for March 10, 2015:

JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us with the scoop on the 6th bi-annual Tour de Brewers. It is this Saturday, March 14th with a St. Patrick's Day theme. Registration at Tin Roof Birmingham starting at 9 a.m. Run and bike rides start at 10:45 a.m. Run/bike from Tin Roof to the FOUR breweries in Birmingham - Good People Brewing Company, Avondale Brewing Company, Cahaba Brewing Company and Trim Tab Brewing Co. Your entry fee includes a sample of a great beer at each brewery, a technical tee shirt for each participant, opportunities for great door prizes and a fantastic band at the after party.

MONEY TUESDAY - The Alabama Supreme Court has voted in favor of the Alabama Accountability Act which allows Alabama taxpayers to receive an income tax credit of up to half of your state income tax liability by donating to a qualified Scholarship Granting Organization- SGO. These scholarships provide money to allow students from low income households to transfer from failing public schools to non-failing public schools or qualified private schools. Understand that this is a tax credit rather than a simple tax deduction. As a tax credit, your contribution is offset dollar-for-dollar against State of Alabama income taxes due. For example, assume that you expect to owe the State of Alabama $2,000 of income taxes. You decide to contribute $1,000 to a SGO. You write your check to the SGO; then on your state tax return, you take a $1,000 tax credit…so you send the Alabama Department of Revenue $1,000 instead of $2,000. In other words, it didn't cost you anything to redirect these tax dollars to low income students who are trying to get a better education. If you are paying Alternative Minimum Taxes - AMT, you could actually create a positive benefit from this gifting strategy. This is because state income taxes are an 'add-back' for purposes of the AMT calculation whereas charitable contributions are not an add-back item. For individuals, the maximum annual tax credit allowed is $7,500 whereas there is no limit for corporations - some restrictions apply for certain types of companies. The state has funded this program with $25 million per year on a first-come, first-serve basis and joins seventeen other states in creating a partnership between taxpayers and children who most need alternative options for their education.

You can apply for your tax credit online at revenue.alabama.gov ; then click on links under the "My Alabama Taxes or MAT" portal - upper left. I applied for the credit last week and it takes only a few minutes once you set up a user and password. You'll need your Social Security number plus your State of Alabama Adjusted Gross Income as it appears on your most recent state income tax return - 2013. On the same day you reserve your tax credit, you send your donation to the SGO. Your donation must be for the same amount as the amount you reserved online. The SGO also must confirm receipt of your donation with the Department of Revenue within thirty days in order for you to secure the tax credit. Since I pay quarterly estimated taxes, I've directed my CPA to stop paying any State of Alabama tax estimates until the full amount of my tax credit is used. If you are a W2 employee, have your Human Resources Department adjust your state tax withholding. Any unused tax credits can be carried-forward for up to three years. Let's all remember that the future economy of our state, in many ways, hinges on the quality of the education our state's children receive. Under the Alabama Accountability Act, each of us has the opportunity to redirect a portion of our state income taxes, without any costs to us, to a better education for underprivileged children. Be sure to share this article with your fellow taxpayers and together we can raise the educational standards of our state! For more information, visit www.welchgroup.com.

It's hard to get through the work day with a snack. If you go to the gym after work or have other activities that keep you from dinner, you need a snack that will stick with you to keep you from diving into the bag of chips when you get home. Here are some of my favorites.

•Carrots Dipped in Peanut Butter: Carrots are healthy but they won't stick to your ribs for long if you don't add some fat. The fat also helps you to absorb all that healthy beta-carotene the carrots give you. Peanut butter is high in healthy, cholesterol lowering fat and protein. They're a perfect pair!

•String Cheese and an Apple: String cheese is high in calcium and protein. It travels and keeps well! Add in an apple for some fiber and you're good to go!

•100 Calorie Snack Pack and 100% Fruit Juice Box: When you want something sweet or salty, it's hard to stop with just one. So, rather than keeping big bags of chips, snack foods, or cookies in your office, go for the single serving 100 calorie packets. The juice box counts as one of your fruits and give you some potassium and vitamin C!

•Hard Cooked Egg and Whole Grain Crackers. If you have a refrigerator at work, a hard cooked egg is a protein packed snack and it's only 80 calories! Protein seems to help lower hunger and the crackers add in fiber and healthy whole grain.

•Greek Yogurt and Pistachios or almonds, or peanuts . ..: this combo is big on protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium – and it's a combo that can help lower your blood pressure!

5TH WAVE - The worldwide best-selling phenomenon, The 5th Wave, the first book in a trilogy by internationally acclaimed author Rick Yancey, is now available in paperback for the first time since its stunning debut. The thriller is now headed to the big screen with Sony Pictures' film adaptation starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Slated for release on January 29, 2016, the film is directed by J Blakeson and the screenplay is by Susannah Grant, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner. The producers are Tobey Maguire, Graham King, Lynn Harris, and Matthew Plouffe. The studio is also partnering with Kernel, an innovative Internet "all access" portal where fans can buy tickets now, get access to behind-the-scenes footage, and obtain exclusive content, plus more. Cassie is the girl who lost it all. Her world ripped apart. Her mother and father dead. Her little brother captured. On a lonely stretch of highway, she runs from Them. The beings that only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. Now, she must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. Cassie Sullivan gets up.

GARDENING - Jimmy said while it is still too early to break out the begonias and tomato plants, you can be thinking about some blooming color for containers or planting in small areas. The garden centers are beginning to get in small batches of spring color. Jimmy said you can begin some herbs in pots. Do this so that you can bring them and protect them if need be. We will be having some early spring like temperatures in the coming weeks and these plants will help you with your spring flower itch. Jimmy also reminded you to use the organic fertilizer 'sanctuary 3.3.4, as this is safe and easy to use for all out door gardening and the liquid Hastagro fertilizer is great for outdoor and 'indoor' plants as well. Jimmy says today is a great day to plant just do a little research on what best fits your idea spot. For more information, call Jimmy at 205-981-1151, email him at jimmyrockett@att.net.

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, we show you some great ideas for your Easter outfit and we check out the latest trends to update your wardrobe for spring! The doctor joins us to take your questions about women's health issues! In Good Day Gardening we look at what it means to use organic fertilizer in your gardens! Mickey takes us to the Birmingham Zoo to visit with his friends! And Jeh Jeh takes us to the Shamrock Shindig! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama!