Fran­chot pro­motes Shop Mary­land En­ergy in Cam­bridge

Dorchester Star - - Regional - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — A small, fam­ily-owned ap­pli­ance store in down­town Cam­bridge played host to Comptroller Peter Fran­chot’s pro­mo­tion of tax sav­ings for Mary­lan­ders look­ing to save money dur­ing the an­nual Shop Mar yland En­ergy week­end.

It’s not only good busi­ness for Mary­land, it’s good for small busi­nesses like R. Brooks and Son who has been sell­ing ap­pli­ances at 115 S. Mary­land Ave. since 1968.

The ap­pli­ance store that was started by Brooks’s fa­ther will not charge its cus­tomers Mary­land’s 6 per­cent sales tax on qual­i­fy­ing En­ergy Star ap­pli­ances from Satur­day, Feb. 18, through Mon­day, Feb. 20.

“Shop Mary­land En­ergy week­end is a win for all Mary­lan­ders,” Fran­chot said. “Con­sumers can save hun­dreds of dol­lars, busi­nesses make more sales, and En­ergy Star prod­ucts are good for the en­vi­ron­ment.”

The tax ex­emp­tion ap­plies to used En­ergy Star items as well as cat­a­logue and in­ter­net sales, pro­vided the sale is com­pleted dur­ing the taxfree week­end.

Kemp Brooks, the owner of R. Brooks and Son, cred­its Shop Mary­land En­ergy for en­er­giz­ing sales dur­ing what used to be the slow win­ter months.

“Fe­bru­ary used to be one of the worst months,” Brooks said. “Now it’s one of the best months. Man­u­fac­tur­ers get be­hind the pro­gram (with dis­counts), too.”

The week­end turns out to be a boon for the state cof­fers, as well. “We prob­a­bly turn in more sales tax in Fe­bru­ary,” Brooks said.

Some peo­ple shop­ping for ap­pli­ances plan their pur­chases to co­in­cide with the tax-free week­end.

“Some­times they change their minds,” Kemp’s son Michael Brooks said. Shop­pers may go into the store think­ing they want an En­ergy Star ap­pli­ance, and about half do, but the other half buy con­ven­tional ap­pli­ances, which are still taxed dur­ing the three-day event.

The store own­ers and em­ploy­ees greeted Fran­chot with an En­ergy Star re­frig­er­a­tor that they had wrapped with the dis­tinc­tive Mary­land flag. “What a clever thing that is. I love it.” Fran­chot said, smil­ing. “I’m go­ing to put a bid in on it.”

Also on hand for the pro­mo­tion and photo op­por­tu­nity were Cam­bridge Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley; Rebecca White, ex­ec­u­tive as­sis­tant to the Dorch­ester County man­ager; Robert Han­son, Fifth Ward city com­mis­sioner; and Denise Love­lady, com­mu­nity li­ai­son for U.S Rep. Andy Har­ris, RMd.-1st.

Michael Brooks said that Fran­chot has stopped by for the past five or six years. He said he thinks the Shop Mary­land En­ergy event is a win-win pro­gram dur­ing Pres­i­dents Day week­end.

Kemp Brooks said that the Mary­land leg­is­la­ture was “very sharp” to in­clude En­ergy Star dry­ers six years ago. Fran­chot said that the leg­is­la­tion was writ­ten “so they could re­voke it, but I think if they did, there would be a riot.”

Mayor Vic­to­ria Jack­sonS­tan­ley said Shop Mary­land En­ergy was a “good eco­nomic base pro­gram” and thanked Fran­chot “for be­ing that mes­sen­ger for us.”

“It’s much bet­ter than col­lect­ing taxes,” Fran­chot said. “I’ll be back next year un­less the vot­ers kick me out. Oh, that’s the next year.”

Dur­ing the Shop Mary­land En­ergy event, air con­di­tion­ers, wash­ers and dry­ers, fur­naces, heat pumps, stan­dard-size re­frig­er­a­tors, com­pact flu­o­res­cent light bulbs (CFL), de­hu­mid­i­fiers and pro­gram­mable thermostats that have been des­ig­nated as meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing the applicable En­ergy Star ef­fi­ciency re­quire­ments de­vel­oped by the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency and the U.S. Depart­ment of En­ergy will be tax-free.

The En­ergy Star, an EPA pro­gram, was es­tab­lished in 1992 to re­duce lev­els of green­house gas emis­sions and other harm­ful pol­lu­tants caused by the in­ef­fi­cient use of en­ergy. The En­ergy Star la­bel as­sists con­sumers in iden­ti­fy­ing en­ergy-ef­fi­cient prod­ucts that of­fer sav­ings on en­ergy bills with­out sac­ri­fic­ing per­for­mance, fea­tures of com­fort.

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Comptroller Peter Fran­chot vis­ited Cam­bridge on Feb. 13 to pro­mote Shop En­ergy Mary­land dur­ing Pres­i­dents Day week­end, Feb. 18 through 20, when con­sumers will be able to buy tax-free En­ergy Star ap­pli­ances. Fran­chot stopped by R. Brooks and Son Ap­pli­ances in Cam­bridge and posed with, from left, store owner Kemp Brooks, Fifth Ward city com­mis­sioner Robert Han­son, Comptroller Peter Fran­chot, Con­nie Brooks, Mayor Vic­to­ria Jackson-Stan­ley and Michael Brooks.

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