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Black Friday Schedule Changes, Holiday Shopping, and The "Fiscal Cliff"
November 23, 2012
This day-after-Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday -- but there are many schedule changes in effect around the state. State government offices are closed, for example; also closed are government offices in Anne Arundel, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Frederick Counties. But Baltimore City's government offices are open. Also open: Baltimore County government offices -- and, of course, the Federal Government is running as well. Banks are open today, but schools and courts are closed. Regular schedules are back for local MTA buses, the metro subway, and the light rail; but MARC trains and MTA commuter buses are not operating. Many landfills and waste disposal centers around the state are closed... but trash pickup is back to normal in many jurisdictions. Folks in Baltimore County who didn't get their trash picked up yesterday should put it out for pickup today. Baltimore City residents who missed a trash or recycling pickup on Thanksgiving have had it rescheduled for tomorrow. More information on Black Friday schedule changes is available here from the Baltimore Sun.
Shoppers are out in force around the region, with Black Friday sales underway. Many folks began hitting the stores yesterday... at White Marsh Mall in Nottingham, Boscov's department store opened their doors at seven yesterday morning, even though the rest of the mall was closed. Many other stores around the state opened last night (via our wire service; more here from the Baltimore Sun). The National Retail Federation says, nationwide, 147-million people plan to shop today or over the weekend. Tomorrow is the annual "Small Business Saturday," an occasion designed to encourage people to get their holiday gifts in at independently owned small businesses. Senator Ben Cardin co-sponsored a resolution honoring Small Business Saturday. He says that "buying local is one of the best things we can all do to help foster our economic recovery." Next week, it's the now-traditional online holiday shopping day known as Cyber Monday. If you take part in that, chances are you're not paying sales taxes -- which happens to be against the law. In fact, Marylanders are SUPPOSED to pay a 6 percent "use tax" for any purchase that's not taxed by the seller -- such as online buys. State Comptroller Peter Franchot says that more than 95 percent of the Maryland public is breaking this law. But he also tells the Daily Times that he's "not comfortable" with the law -- and that he will not enforce it. Franchot says that if the law were enforced, Maryland would pull in an extra 200-million dollars a year in tax revenue.
On today's edition of Inside Maryland Politics, WYPR Senior News Analyst Fraser Smith talks to WYPR's Karen Hosler about Maryland's bipartisan committee looking at the looming fiscal cliff.
Two houses in Upper Fells Point have been condemned after a water leak caused them to partially collapse (via our wire service; more here from WJZ).
The University of Maryland School of Medicine is being credited with cooking Thanksgiving dinner for about 400 needy people (via our wire service and the Baltimore Sun).
And in sports: the Ravens have an away game on Sunday; they'll be in San Diego to take on the Chargers.
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