2012 is shaping up to be a really interesting year

With 2012 just a couple of weeks away, the rush to the holidays is in full swing.

Public employees have received their aguinaldo or 13th month pay, and shopping resembles a rugby scrum.

The coming year is shaping up to be one of great interest for expats here.

Then there are those who say the Christmas holiday will be the last because the world is coming to an end next year. And if the Mayan calendar does not do the job, surely global warming will.

Not only that, but bachelors have to be aware because 2012 is a leap year, and that gives women the right to propose marriage. For some confirmed single expats marriage would be worse than world destruction.

The Mayan calendar scare is right up there with invading space aliens. The idea is that when the calendar runs out of numbers, the world will end.

Most real experts report that the Mayans had a tun of numbers and the predictions of world destruction are greatly exaggerated.

Of course, there are some who believe the world will come to an end if Barack Obama is successful in the Nov. 6 election. The venom on the Internet knows no limits.

American expats will have plenty of resources again this year to register and vote in the U.S. election.

Of more current concern would be any required interplay with the government. Although the calendar (the Gregorian) says otherwise, Christmas already has arrived in public agencies.

There are the office holiday parties. There are the religious ceremonies related to setting up the nativity scene. And of course, there are the obligatory Christmas parties at the local restaurant.

The bottom line: Nothing will get done until the middle of January. If then.

With one exception. National lawmakers are still hard at work trying to pass a tax bill that will suck $500 million from the private sector. The lawmakers are threatening to work over Christmas to give President Laura Chinchilla her gift, a brief respite from bankruptcy. Next year’s national budget is nearly 50 percent financed with borrowed money.

This is the same legislature that has been working 18 months to make needed changes in the draconian traffic law. That won’t be done by Christmas or perhaps not even next year.

Costa Rica does not have a presidential vote until early 2014, but already a few politicians are beginning to sound like candidates. Much of what will be said next year will have to be viewed through skeptical eyes.

February marks the end of the tourism institute’s sloth campaign. The idea was to create a big response among Facebook users by offering free trips to Costa Rica. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo is investing $2.9 million and plans to invest even more in related campaigns in the United States.

By March or April the figures will be in so that the success of the promotion can be evaluated. Most tourism operators will know long before that.

Of more immediate concern is the luxury home tax, the Costa Rican income tax (due Thursday), patente payments, and maybe the new corporation tax if lawmakers get around to discussing it.

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