Voices: Virtual Insanity and Bottle Tax Evasion

Written by on February 29, 2012 in Baltimore Voices - No comments

Pardon our virtual dust

Readers may have had some trouble finding stories and items on our website recently—it will get better, we promise.

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We are redesigning our website to make it more attractive and easier for readers to use and find the things they want to read. We’re going to add videos, and try to get our readers’ gallery started again. We are working on having much more down-to-the-block neighborhood news from community associations.

Of course, as usually happens when you start a renovation project, we are finding that it is three times as complicated as we thought and it’s taking us twice as long.

So please pardon the confusion at www.baltimoreguide.com, and please bear with us—we’re working on it, and we hope you all find it to be better than ever.

In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for things you would like to see, or any ideas on how better to navigate the site, please send them along to me at editor@baltimoreguide.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

(Bottle) tax evasion

The Hon. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of the City of Baltimore, wants to raise money to use as leverage for a much bigger figure in municipal bonds. The point is, eventually, to repair some city schools, which haven’t gotten much positive attention for oh, say, 30 years or more.

It’s an admirable goal. To achieve it, Heronner wants to combine the city’s take of the planned slots casino, put that together with the proceeds of pension fund tweaking and bump the bottle tax to five cents. She would put all that money in a pile and use it to raise $300 million in municipal bonds to start school repairs.

That’s a 150 percent increase to the bottle tax. So if you are buying a case of bottled water, which you should not because Baltimore’s tap water is perfectly good, but that’s a subject for another day, you presently pay 48 cents tax on those 24 bottles. If the mayor gets her way, you would pay a buck twenty.

And, predictably, that has people steamed.

But the thing is, you don’t really have to pay the bottle tax if you choose your beverages carefully.

For one thing, the bottle tax does not apply to beverages you need to buy at the grocery store—dairy products, dairy substitutes like soy or almond milk, and things like that. You don’t pay a tax on juices that have 10 percent or more actual juice content.

You pay a tax on soda containers—but you don’t pay a tax on containers that are two liters or more, so buy your sodas in those big bottles and remember to put the cap back on when you’re done pouring, and you will be (somewhat) richer for the experience.

You do, however, have to pay a container tax on liquor, beer or wine no matter what the size. So if you buy a jeroboam of Dom Perignon to avoid the tax, forget it—you will still have to pay a nickel on top of the $600 the champagne costs you.

Spring already?

A couple of us took advantage of the 70-degree temperatures last Thursday and went out information-gathering.

Actually, we hooked work and went over to Patterson Park with some sandwiches and pickles from Weiss Deli.

Anyhow, the turtles were sunning themselves over at the Boat Lake, and the big thing is—we saw some migratory ducks. There are a couple of American Wigeons floating around this week, and a couple of American Coots and some Pied-Billed Grebes. Go take a look.

The big sighting of the day, though, was a Bald Eagle who was circling lazily over the Little League fields between the ice rink and the Boat Lake. That caused quite a bit of excitement among the dozen or so people who, like us, were ducking work to enjoy the sun.

What signs of spring have you seen? Drop me a line at editor@baltimoreguide.com.

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