Lately, there have been some interesting localized economic stories floating around on the news wires and on the Internet. Consider the company in New Jersey where the CEO took $484,000 out of his own pocket and gave every one of his 484 employees $1,000 with the stipulation that they had to spend it in an effort to stimulate the local economy.

In another story, a diner in Kansas has opened its doors to any and all, regardless of their ability to pay. The restaurant is keeping every one of its employees while feeding anyone that is hungry. There are no checks when done eating, people are asked to pay what they can in a box near the register. Those that can’t afford to pay do not have to, those that can pay what they feel like paying. To date, the diner is receiving enough in the way of money and donated time to continue the process.
It is evident that small businesses are leading the way toward economic turn around in a way not envisioned by elected leaders. They are taking matters into their own hands and providing some needed relief to the people they serve and to their employees.
Now, a New York Investment strategy company, thinkorswim Group, Inc. is adding some incentives to tax filers. According to company media releases, they are offering anyone in the United States that files their taxes before the April 15 filing deadline, $299 worth of investment strategy software.
Investools Inc. is the investor education division of thinkorswim Group Inc., a leading provider of trading technology and online brokerage services, who has been supplying investors with the information they need to navigate any market, regardless of its direction, for over 25 years – educating over 400,000 people through their Investools Investing Education program.

Since tax-filing season officially ends on April 15 at midnight, there is always an incredible amount of attention given to those filing that day. But until now, nobody has acknowledged the “early birds” who finish and file their taxes many weeks before the deadline.

Investools is currently offering the first 415 early tax filers who send in a copy of their tax receipt, i.e., an online receipt or a return mail receipt from the IRS that shows the date they filed their 2008 taxes, complimentary entry to the Investools Investing Foundation Course, which arms consumers with the tools they need to understand fundamental investing principles, the stock selection process, and active investment management techniques.

In order to qualify for the free software, copies of receipts must be received via email to or by fax to (801) 816-6010 before April 14 at midnight.

The state of Maryland is also benefiting e-filers with a speedy refund. According to State Comptroller, Peter Franchot, “Those who file electronically will receive their refunds in two days. Those who file with a traditional paper return may have to wait four to six weeks to receive refunds.”
Even in economically disastrous times, there are some signs that local action may solve the global crisis. All we, as a people, have to do is apply some creativity to our way of thinking. Who knows, we just might make a difference on our own.