April 26, 2012
Tax rebates and incentives for the "Superblock" project sound innocuous, but let's call these programs what they really are - subsidies funded by the taxpayers of Baltimore. Will the 296 apartments to be built in the Superblock need police and fire protection? Will they need their garbage collected? Will the residents attend school, use a park or drive on a street? If they do, but do not pay taxes to cover the cost, then the rest of the homeowners in Baltimore will be stuck with the tab. While the project's developers enjoy 20 years of tax breaks, the rest of us who are less well-connected at City Hall can expect to suffer crushing property taxes, escalating fees and reduced city services.
February 20, 2012
Last year, Jane Kuhl and her husband qualified for a state-run program that promised a 50 percent rebate to homeowners installing energy-saving insulation. The couple spent more than $6,700 plugging holes and insulating their Harford County farmhouse, which was originally built in the late 1800s. For their work, they received a 35 percent rebate from the state, along with a 15 percent rebate from their utility. Happy at first, they were later surprised and disappointed to find out that they owe income taxes on the $2,461 received from the state.
September 21, 2011
The last couple of times Constellation Energy tried to sell all or part of itself to an out-of-state company, Gov. Martin O'Malley's focus was almost entirely on the pocketbooks of two groups: Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. customers, and Constellation CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III and his fellow executives. In 2006, Mr. O'Malley, then a candidate for governor, successfully sued to force the Public Service Commission to reconsider a 72 percent rate hike and to take into account the potential benefits of Constellation's planned merger with Florida Power & Light.
August 8, 2011
It seems that Baltimore is keeping pace with the rest of the country and the world: It's getting hotter. On Aug. 1, The Sun reported that July was the hottest July - actually the hottest month - ever for Baltimore. One day later, we learned that the city's 30-year average had risen half a degree above the last average. I'm scared. I can handle a record-high temperature so long as I know that it's an exception and that it will go back down. But what is being reported here is a trend - one with no end in sight.
June 16, 2011
State officials have added additional money to a popular program that offers rebates for energy-efficient home improvements. So far, nearly 700 Maryland residents have been reimbursed through the Maryland Home Performance Rebate Program, exhausting the $1 million in federal stimulus dollars originally redirected to the program in January, according to the Maryland Energy Administration. Through the program, residents can get a rebate for 35 percent of the costs of qualifying efficiency projects, such as whole-house air sealing, duct replacement or insulation.
March 23, 2011
AAA, Goodwill offer "Luggage Trade-In/Trade-Up" program What's the deal? Donate your gently used luggage to Goodwill Industries retail stores and receive a discount voucher good for the purchase of new luggage from local AAA Mid-Atlantic stores. What are the savings? For every piece of gently used luggage dropped off at one of Goodwill's donation centers by April 16, donors will receive a discount voucher good for 40 percent off a piece of Antler Luggage or $25 off a luggage purchase of $50 or more.