Franchot promotes Shop Maryland Energy in Cambridge
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.
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.