Thursday, August 03, 2006


A big day has come for many Georgia shoppers - as the four-day sales tax holiday starts today. Why some store didn't invite Governor Sonny Perdue to a "midnight madness" special, I have no idea.

For years this exemption on state sales taxes has been touted as a "back-to-school" tax holiday, but that seems to be changing. Some stores note the exemption applies to more than school supplies. Of course, any attempt to call it a "summer tax holiday" would bring protests from the pro-Christmas crowd....

Wednesday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution took a close look at the sales tax exemption list, and found some curious things about it. For instance, clothes which cost less than $100 are tax-exempt - unless you buy them at the Atlanta airport. I never realized Hartsfield-Jackson was such as threat to Lenox Square and the Mall of Georgia.

And did you realize baseball cleats are tax-exempt in Georgia for the next four days? The way Atlanta has played this year, I think the off-season discounts for this already are in effect.

This year Georgia actually has combined two sales tax holidays into one, bringing in an exemption for some energy-efficient items. They include doors, windows and water heaters - but they didn't dare add hybrid cars.

The specific items covered by Georgia's tax-free holiday apparently are NOT determined by the state legislature, but a committee of the state department of revenue. Which group do you trust more - lawmakers who can be lobbied by big spenders? Or people you've never heard of, whose most-used computer item is a calculator?

The four-day sales tax holiday is expected to cost state and local governments about $11 million. So if you see a Columbus police officer shopping for clothes, feel free to buy him lunch - because the tax loss is putting future raises in serious question.

In another change, Georgia teachers have voucher cards from the state to spend during the sales tax holiday. With Muscogee County schools opening next Monday, will teachers get a long lunch break to enjoy this? With Talbot and Stewart Counties already in session, has an "in-service day" been added to the calendar?

Alabama is joining the sales tax holiday fervor for the first time this year. But the weekend spree there doesn't start until Friday. This could have created a dilemma for Phenix City shoppers -- but then again, the nice stores for shopping in Phenix City drop off quickly after Wal-Mart and K mart.

While Georgia's rules for the sales tax holiday automatically included state and local taxes, Alabama's rules do not. Several local governments have hurried to suspend local sales taxes for the weekend -- so for three days, instead of "wet and dry" counties we'll have "penny saved" and "penny earned" counties.

I may do some shopping during the sales tax holiday, but I don't really need a lot of new clothing or energy-efficient doors. And my old computer decided to break down about seven weeks too soon....

Speaking of shopping: the owners of Parisian stores announced Wednesday they're selling the chain to Belk. Based on the Belk stores I've visited over the years, this is good news - because prices should have nowhere to go but down.


"There's frisbee -- and then there's Power Frisbee." So said an Augusta TV newscaster about the new game which premieres three weeks from tonight! Learn all about it at the official Power Frisbee of Georgia web site; then offer your comments about it at the P.F.G. blog.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Several items were in our InBox Wednesday, including an old issue which is resurfacing:

Sound Off Tue paper..Asst PE coordinator..not advertised because it was just an extended contract for a teacher to have a longer day..duh..seems like it is a new position to me..MCSD playing favorites again..maybe the new title should be "Assistant Recruiter"..

I saw the Ledger-Enquirer's "Sound Off" column as well, since that's where this whole fuss about physical education started [25 Jul]. But remember, it could be worse - the teacher getting an "extended contract" could be nicknamed a major.

I've never met Muscogee County Athletic Director Charles Flowers, so I can't speak for him. But in the preparations for Power Frisbee, I've sadly encountered a few Georgia athletic directors who really could use assistants. They've needed me to e-mail proposal letters two or three times - as if they need press box binoculars to avoid clicking "delete" buttons by mistake.

Next topic: our Instant Message from Wednesday....


The St. Luke UMC sanctuary is in the middle of being refurbished. That probably was carpeting that you saw.


Oh yes, that's right! But to be honest, I already know the big Methodist Church downtown had moved its services to other parts of the complex for several weeks. Maybe the St. Luke staff saw the work on First Presbyterian Church's steeple, and decided to show 'em up - but changing from the inside out.

Our last message for the day continues the discussion of WRBL apparently changing its news set:

When Spartan Radiocasting bought WRBL from TCS in 1995, they moved Jim Caruthers in as GM from WBTW. He in turn brought in Billy Weaver and John Bateman also from WBTW. The 1996-99 era logo matched WBTW's exactly in style. And the L-E ran an article in which the GM said that he liked the set that was built for WBTW so much that he ordered an exact copy for WRBL. The article noted that the cost was still a lot less than WTVM's then-new news set, which was said to "bring a big-market look to a small-market station." WRBL didn't have the same goal, I guess.

If Media General is operating WRBL out of Spartanburg (or Bangalore for that matter), it'd make sense to use the same basic graphics package as WSPA and the rest of them.

Thomas (operating an Atlanta radio station from his Columbus bedroom)

Thanks for the explanation, Thomas - and why are you operating an Atlanta radio station from your bedroom? Don't you realize you could run about seven computer-programmed Columbus radio stations, in that same amount of space?

This e-mail brought back some names from WRBL's past, which I had completely forgotten. Billy Weaver was a sportscaster in the late 1990's, while John Bateman was the main weathercaster. In fact, it was Bateman who told me at a dinner his station was not "first, fast and accurate" - but "second, slow and mediocre."

It might be interesting to see WRBL operated from Bangalore, India. Then instead of "Who's the Boss" reruns on weekends, we'd see those good Bollywood movies -- you know, the ones with gorgeous actresses who never kiss on camera.

We appreciate all your comments - now we'll add a few more of our own from Wednesday's virtual notebook:

+ Which Russell County convenience store stands accused of ignoring "buy one get one free" labels on Camel cigarettes, by breaking twin-packs in two and selling them separately at full price? Don't the accusers only have themselves to blame, by being addicted to tobacco in the first place?

+ WRBL reported the "Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Phenix City" presented a check to the city for almost $28,000. The coalition wants smoking banned in public places citywide. Perhaps not bribery, but smoking....

+ It was SO HOT that the evening news found a Taylor County rail repair crew working in the heat. Actually, TWO crews were working - with one on the job at a time, while the other took a break. First two Taylor County proms, then two war memorial plaques, and now this?!?!

(Norfolk Southern brought in two rail repair crews for health and safety reasons. So there you have it - since hot weather is good for our economy, we should keep working toward better global warming.)

+ An evening jog/walk down Broadway found something new for me, as a middle-aged couple rolled up the sidewalk on Segways. Now if some of you motorized wheelchair operators would kindly learn from their example....

+ Georgia Tech announced 500 freshmen will have to live three-to-a-room in dorms this fall, because more students than expected are enrolling. If this school really wanted to be hip, they'd put all 500 of them in a mansion near campus and have MTV promote the world's largest series of "The Real World."

+ ESPN's web site reported Auburn University football player and LaGrange native Trey Blackmon will be suspended three games for an alcohol conviction. A charge of "being a pedestrian while intoxicated" was dropped - which I think means he tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.

(After so many reports of football players getting arrested in the off-season, somebody has to ask it - is Auburn turning into the new Tallahassee?)

+ Instant Message to whomever is skateboarding inside the Trade Center parking garage: Nice try - but I still think police will find you. Your noises inside an empty concrete area are echoing all the way across Front Avenue.

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 6763 (+ 199, 3.0%)

If you mention this blog in public, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-06 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats