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As Long as We Remember...

September 30, 2019

Banning Balloons? What’s Next?

Jennifer Baker

Some have compared Maryland to California, and, if Frederick County Councilman Kai Hagen has his latest bill approved, we may well follow California’s excesses by banning balloons.


While not proposed as satire on Facebook, this instead will be a bill coming to the County Council soon.


The bill could prohibit the intentional release of non-biodegradable balloons within Frederick County.


Per the councilman, this is due to the litter caused by balloons and the shortage of expensive Helium.


The councilman does say this is not a big problem, which leads to the question of why then would we have such a trivial discussion when there are other larger issues – such as the recent death being investigated at the county fair.


Has anyone seen large amounts of balloon liter in Frederick?


If liter is found, will there be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on who released the balloons as this new proposal could come with a $250 fine for releasing a balloon.


If a child accidentally loses a balloon tied to their hand, is the child to be fined?


Is there a Helium shortage? Then you might ask how it is that Party City currently stocks 14.9 cubic feet Helium tanks at the reasonable price of $49.99? Walmart was even less though at $48.95 for the same tank for reference.


Who knew the once the cheap thrill of changing your voice with Helium would become such an offense?


Other counties in Maryland have enacted such a ban on balloon releases already, but can a ban inside a county really help the cause of eliminating balloon liter when the wind can carry a balloon miles away?


Are large balloon releases even done inside Frederick county?


Will further hindrances to business help grow businesses and jobs in Frederick County?


At present, Maryland has an increasing minimum wage that, in turn, creates competition with companies just outside of Maryland where wages are not increasing yearly by mandate. Maryland businesses are now banned from using Styrofoam containers, and now we wish to start telling them trivial new rules on balloons.


At some point, businesses will no longer see value in doing business in Frederick County and will move to other more business-friendly locals.


Perhaps, instead, educating instead of talking down to county residents could create awareness about where balloons could accidentally end up.


Creating a nanny state of trivial rules county residents must follow only creates anger, and often results in the opposite reaction desired. People in New York still buy large sodas; they just pay more for the soda tax out of their own pockets. Or, they could just buy two smaller sodas and avoid the tax.


We have much larger pressing issues in Frederick County that should be addressed by the County Council.


If Councilman Hagen is proposed at ban on balloons, what is next, the rain tax 2.0 as part of Livable Frederick?


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