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That 2.5 percent is better than nothing, right?

OK, let's say, hypothetically, that I made $10 an hour at the beginning of the year and was fortunate to receive a 2.5 percent wage increase. Oh boy, I have $40 extra a month I can "splurge" on! Taking $3 out for taxes leaves me with $37. Let's s...

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OK, let's say, hypothetically, that I made $10 an hour at the beginning of the year and was fortunate to receive a 2.5 percent wage increase. Oh boy, I have $40 extra a month I can "splurge" on! Taking $3 out for taxes leaves me with $37. Let's see, the newspaper went up by 25 cents a day.

A 2.5 percent increase? I think not.

I am now left with $31. That's OK; it's better than nothing, right? Oh, wait a minute. We need street lights at $3.50 a month (a 7 percent increase in my electric bill, even in the winter months!), storm water user charge and clean water surcharge went up 11 percent to 17 percent this past year, leaving me with $18.75 per month to "splurge" on. An increase in bread, peanut butter and milk -- all staples in my house -- brings me down to less than $8.75 per month left of my raise. Yippee! Of course, there is gas (yes, I bus, walk, bike when able), property taxes, health insurance, medical bills and other miscellaneous increases that I have not even mentioned.

Like I said before: It's better than nothing, right? Because that's what I have left, nothing. I think I'll walk to the post office to mail this. Oh shoot. How much are stamps?

ANGELA SMITH

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DULUTH

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