April 17, 2014
I was surprised that Thomas F. Schaller didn't mention that some of us who "diligently pay the full monthly balance" on our credit cards receive rewards on some cards that can be redeemed as cash or applied to a balance ( "Paper or plastic?" April 16). There's much more to be said about convenience. Less frequent trips to the bank or the ATM to make sure I have enough cash on hand for any type of purchase suit me just fine. Garry Reck, Baltimore - To respond to this letter, send an email to . Please include your name and contact information.
Thomas F. Schaller | April 15, 2014
Cash or credit? Cash: At the Hot Stove restaurant on Cape Cod, which I visit every summer vacation for one of their tasty burgers served on English muffins, patrons must pay their tab in cash or by check. A few years ago, the pub stopped taking credit cards to avoid paying transaction fees to Visa and MasterCard. There's an on-site ATM for customers unaware of the new policy. If this sounds like a stupid, even selfish business decision, think again: Each year the Hot Stove's owners donate the amount saved in transaction fees to local charities.
By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun and By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun | April 9, 2014
Marcus Leak tried to watch as many Maryland football games as he could last season, but that was not always easy. The junior wide receiver was home in Charlotte, N.C., taking a semester off for still-undisclosed "personal" reasons. When he did catch a game on television, sitting at home with his family or out with friends, Leak knew the Terps could have used him, especially after fellow wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long each broke a leg in a game at Wake Forest. "It was hard to watch at times, at times like that [when the two wideouts got hurt]
By Timothy B. Wheeler and David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
The breakdown in Annapolis over boosting incentives for films and television series shot in Maryland has left the state without enough money to give Netflix's "House of Cards" what it was seeking to produce its next season here, officials acknowledged Tuesday. House and Senate members failed Monday night to reach agreement on legislation that would have provided $3.5 million in additional tax credits for the coming year - money intended to cover the gap between what "House of Cards" is seeking and what the state will be able to spend.
Erin Cox and The Baltimore Sun | April 8, 2014
The potential pool of cash available for the film industry shrank by $3.5 million in the final minutes of the General Assembly session, leaving lawmakers asking: Is $15 million enough for "House of Cards" to stay? The Netflix political thriller, which filmed some of its second season in the Maryland State House, received more than $26 million in taxpayer money over the past two years to film in the state. When the O'Malley administration offered only $4 million in tax incentives for filming this year, the production company pushed back filming for its third season and threatened to break down its sets and move elsewhere.
By Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun | April 7, 2014
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration on Monday introduced a bill to make 10 years of tax credits available citywide for developers of apartments. The bill would expand an existing 15-year tax credit program for apartments that's in place for eight targeted areas of the city. The 15-year credits will still apply for those areas, while the rest of the city will be eligible for the 10-year credits, the mayor's office said. Colin Tarbert, deputy director of the mayor's Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development, said the first year of the targeted program generated about $150 million in investment in Baltimore.
By Meredith Cohn, The Baltimore Sun | April 6, 2014
Netflix's Capitol Hill drama "House of Cards" may receive millions more in tax credits to continue filming in Maryland, now that the General Assembly has agreed to make more funding available. But the local arts community may not like the politics. To secure the extra funding, the General Assembly authorized state economic developers to dip into a $2.5 million pot of money called the Special Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Arts. It was created in 2009 to support arts organizations.
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | April 3, 2014
A tentative deal was reached Thursday in Annapolis to increase tax credits for film and television productions shot in Maryland, in a bid to keep popular TV series like "House of Cards" and "Veep" from abandoning the state. A joint conference committee on the budget agreed to provide up to $18.5 million in film tax credits, significantly more than the $7.5 million that Gov. Martin O'Malley had originally proposed. Media Rights Capital, the California company producing the Netflix series "House of Cards," warned state officials by letter that it was putting off work on the show's third season until it could be assured that sufficient tax credits would be approved.
By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun | April 1, 2014
Four Maryland employees made about $255,000 in improper purchases - including guitars, plane tickets and toy soldiers - with state credit cards intended for business spending, a state audit of the program found. The audit concluded that agencies could prevent workers from abusing the 17-year-old, $260 million credit card program by using more comprehensive data to better monitor the purchases. Rather than viewing only where purchases were made, like a bank statement, state officials should regularly monitor data that shows exactly what was bought, said Thomas Barnickel, the legislative auditor.
By Michael Dresser and Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | March 30, 2014
As the General Assembly enters the final week of its 90-day session, lawmakers have fewer issues coming down to the wire than in a typical year — but some that remain are very thorny indeed. A proposal to raise the minimum wage, Gov. Martin O'Malley's top priority in his last year as governor, is stalled by a key senator's demand that the state also increase the pay of workers who care for the developmentally disabled. The House and Senate are wrangling over how much money to devote to a tax break intended to keep the production of the hit TV series "House of Cards" in Maryland.
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