Friday, April 22, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Today, the full body of Maryland’s General Assembly heard from Governor O’Malley about his vision for Maryland, and his interpretation of the past year. The Governor stated in his speech, “Everything has a cost…” Well, the question Marylander’s are asking is, “How much?”
His proposed budget holds our deficit at $1.2 billion while actually increasing spending by over $2 billion. There are several fund raids conducted from the Transportation Trust Fund ($120 million) and the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund ($90 million) with additional tax increases to replace the raided funds. At the same time, the governor plans to increase our debt through the issuance of bonds. This will further push our debt ceiling to the edge.
We cannot afford bonuses for all state employees ($750.00), nor the five additional paid holidays he is offering. We cannot afford to continue cutting Medicaid reimbursements while, at the same time, taking our enrollment up over a million Marylander’s (20% of our population). We simply cannot afford to extend ourselves at a time when the revenues from our citizens are contracting.
Today the governor spoke about the state creating winners and losers when it comes to business and industry. If you are about “green” jobs, you’re a winner; if not, you’re a loser. When the state predicates tax incentives and government backed funding sources to favored industry, it is akin to the king extending the scepter to whomever he wishes. Wind farms may be a great idea, but they need to stand on their own as a business endeavor. When the governor talks about “investments”, he should be talking about the private sector, not tax dollars.
We heard about the governors desire to place a moratorium on septic systems in rural developments, with no regard of the chilling effect this could have on land values, private property rights, and development on the Eastern Shore. He stated that “where we eat, sleep, and live…” is affecting our environment as if this, too, is something the government should control.
The governor stated we were “moving forward”, while his budget anchors us to our indebtedness. He called us a grand “experiment in self government”, while he offers only additional regulations, fees, and taxes on the business community. He says, “It’s all about jobs”, as if the government is the one who creates those jobs. The “ghost of disconnect” continues to haunt Maryland policy.
The bottom line is the governor expressed more visible outrage over the recent power outages in Prince George’s County than he did about the dismal state of our economy, and our failure to address critical budget areas when time was of the essence.
Governor O’Malley wants us to move toward a “knowledge based” economy. Well, that begins with a wisdom based budget, and that was sorely missing from the State of the State Address I heard today.
Monday, August 2, 2010
August Sales Tax Holiday: School Supplies and Clothing
Virginia Tax Free Holiday
When: First full weekend of August (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) each year. The 2010 holiday will take place on August 6-8, 2010.
What's Exempt: During this three-day period, purchases of qualifying school supplies selling for $20 or less per item, and purchases of qualifying clothing and footwear selling for $100 or less per item will be exempt from sales tax.
Retailers may also choose to absorb the tax on other items during the holiday period, but they are responsible for paying the tax on those items to the Department of Taxation.
Maryland Sales Tax Holiday
August 8-14, 2010
The Maryland Sales Tax Holiday gives shoppers a 6 percent savings on qualifying clothing and footwear priced at $100 or less. Qualifying apparel included belts, coats, jackets, pants, shoes, socks and sweaters. The sales tax exemption applied to each eligible item, regardless of how many items you purchase at the same time.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"We are excited to have Walmart here on the eastern shore of Virginia. For years our residents had to travel to Tidewater or Maryland to enjoy shopping at these stores," said Jeff Davis, president, Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce. "Not only will it now mean greater product selection and competitive pricing, it will mean important jobs to our workforce. We look forward to a long and positive relationship with Walmart and are pleased that they have elected to join our Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce."
Store Designed to Improve Customer Experience
In recent months, Walmart has taken major steps to refresh its stores, merchandising and customer experience. The improvements have all come together in the company's newest stores, such as the Onley Walmart.
The new Walmart features wide aisles, enhanced service and a layout designed to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. Walmart aligned the departments that customers shop most frequently. The pharmacy, for example, is adjacent to food making it easier for customers to pick up their prescriptions while shopping for their groceries.
"The layout of the store is easy to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for everyday necessities," said store manager Frank Durst. "By grouping the products that our customers most often purchase including health and beauty and pet supplies, we are making one-stop shopping even easier."
A bright interior color palette creates an inviting shopping experience and helps define the store's merchandise areas. Lower shelving creates an improved sightline and directional signage on every aisle helps customers find what they are looking for quickly. Walmart also combined the customer service desk, Site-to-Store pick-up location and photo lab in one area near the entrance. Customers now have easy access to these services, as well as associates on hand to help meet their needs.
The store's opening has created approximately 350 new jobs. Three of the stores associates have worked for Walmart for more than 10 years. Durst began his Walmart career in 1993 as an hourly associate at a store in La Vale, Md.
Store Design Incorporates Environmentally Friendly Features:
The Onley Walmart, like all new Walmart stores, includes energy-efficient technology and environmentally friendly features to reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. The store's skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by up to 75 percent daily. LED lighting in the store operates 70 percent more efficiently than traditional fluorescent lighting.
The cement used in the concrete flooring is made with recycled materials, and the floors finish reduces the need for chemical cleaners. Low-flow toilets and faucets reduce the water used in the bathrooms. The new store also operates a recycling program and will promote sustainable product purchases.
Ribbon-Cutting Celebration 7:30 a.m., July 21
Community and business leaders will join Walmart associates at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. Store associate Kendra Townsend will perform the national anthem and representatives from the Virginia Marine Resource Corporation will present the colors.
Community Organizations Benefit from Grand-Opening Grants:
Walmart is continuing its support of the community by giving $19,000 in grants from the Walmart Foundation to local organizations. The grant recipients include Accomac County Sheriffs Department, Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Eastern Shore Rural Health, Lighthouse Ministries Food Bank, Olney Police Department, Southeastern Virginia Food Bank, Special Olympics and the YMCA.
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation have committed $2 billion to U.S. hunger relief efforts through 2015. The Fighting Hunger Together campaign will also engage Walmart customers and associates in the fight against hunger. More information can be found at walmart.com/fightinghunger.
Monday, July 5, 2010
The show seeks nominations to bring Ty Pennington, his crew and that famous bus to the First State.
Typically, the show focuses on families who already own a home, but it is branching out to those who are renting.
"With the economy now, people have lost their homes or can't afford to buy their first home," said Jackie Topacio, the show's casting producer. "We're hoping we could possibly get that family out of renting and into a home."
Topacio said she looks forward to casting a family in southern Delaware, not only to highlight a new area for the show, but also because of the abundant amount of beaches, nature and history.
"This would be great," she said. "Not everyone knows about southern Delaware; I've been doing research, and it looks great out there."
Not only has the popular show changed the lives of families around the country, but it has also had a large impact on the community surrounding the construction.
"We reach out to the city, mayor and the whole town to mobilize all of the volunteers," Topacio said. "Even strangers come out and say how neat and cool it is to be part of changing the family's life."
Topacio said producers are beginning their search now for the premiere of the eighth season, which is slated to air in the fall. The process of choosing a family, signing paperwork, beginning and ending construction will take anywhere between three months to a year, she said.
"We are looking for families of good people who always give back to their community," Topacio said. "They deserve an extreme makeover to their home."