City Desk

The Needle: Popcorn Tax Edition

Let's All Go To The Lobby And Pay Some Taxes: Seeing movies in the theaters these days is an expensive proposition. There's the tickets themselves, which cost more than $10. There's the Metro fare to the theater. There's the $7 monthly payment to Netflix that meant you could have just held out a few months and seen the damn thing on your couch. And now, if a new proposal by Mayor Vince Gray becomes law, there's the concession tax. The additional 5 percent sales tax on popcorn and sodas would go to a dedicated fund that would either help lure a movie theater east of the Anacostia River or help lure movie productions to the District. Which means you could be paying for the next Transformers sequel. -2

Next on Fox, Schools Begging For Cash: In today's installment of "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire," we look at a sad tale of how major entertainment corporations have become the funder of last resort for cash-strapped schools. Not less than five D.C.-area elementary, middle, and high schools have entered a contest where Glee viewers can vote, in classic reality TV fashion, on which one of them should get a share of a $1 million prize. The prize would pay to keep the music education program at the school from being closed—something which, apparently, local governments can't manage on their own. -3

Ethics R Us: Various law enforcement agencies have spent an impressive amount of time lately looking into how members of the D.C. Council conduct their business. Which isn't exactly good news with an election year coming up. So the council today spent hours and hours talking about how to comport itself in a manner more befitting an august legislative body. We wonder how long it will take for the council to do like the feds do with issues they want to bury, and appoint a blue-ribbon panel to look into ethics reform. -1

Surrender, National Weather Service: The year has already brought heat waves, an earthquake, and a tropical storm to Washington. So chances are no one was particularly surprised to see a tornado warning issued for the area today. Except in this case, the impending weather doom was a hoax: the National Weather Service accidentally sent test warnings out as if they were real. You may now go back to worrying about whether it'll snow on Saturday. -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 61 Today's score: -7 Today's Needle rating: 54

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