SAN FRANCISCO - 7 On Your Side's Consumer Expert Michael Finney answers your consumer questions.
Peter L. Asked us on Twitter: Is it legal for an employer to deduct two-dollars per hour from your hourly wage to pay for medical insurance?
Yes, but only if you agree to it. Here in California, the employer needs to explain what the money is for, and get your permission in writing. You are allowed to say no. If you did not give consent and want to complain, you contact the Labor Commissioner's Office. Also, the Department of Industrial Relations recommended a link to other labor laws. Here is a link to the site, "Wage Theft is a Crime."
Ruby from San Francisco asked: Is there a city law in San Francisco where a homeowner will have to pay for not cleaning animal feces found on their property?
Yes, it is in the San Francisco Health Code: Article 11, Section 581. It is called a nuisance, and that makes it illegal to have animal or human excrement, urine, or biological fluids on property. There can be a fine, but you can contest it by going to a hearing. It is kind of like the anti-graffiti laws where businesses must clean or paint over the tags. Here is the link to the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Rules and Regulations.
Elisa from San Francisco asked: I'm a new mom. Are there any plans out there where I can start saving money for my child's college education?
Yes, it's great you're already thinking about this now. There is an education investment account called the IRS 529 Plan. It allows the money to grow tax free. You invest money, and all of the stock profits or interest paid on the money is not taxed as long as it is used for education college, trade schools, and the like. Since you just had a child, we are talking 18 years of tax-free growth. Anyone can contribute to the plan. Think in terms of grandparents. Here is a link to the IRS' website, so you can look up information, and see what applies to you.