Weekend what we’re reading: Library of Congress reading room open, Chicago taxes tourists most, Delta begins refining jet fuel


The Library of Congress will open its main reading room on Columbus Day, Chicago manages to rack up the highest taxes for tourists and Delta begins its grand experiment with refining its own jet fuel.

The Library of Congress Main Reading Room open on Columbus Day

One of the most beautiful, and normally off-limits to tourists, rooms in the Library of Congress — The Main Reading Room — will be open to tourists on Columbus Day, Oct. 8, 2012.

Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room for a special public open house. Photography will be allowed. The Main Reading Room is on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., S.E., Washington, D.C. Reference librarians will be available to demonstrate the Library’s online resources and discuss access to the Library’s vast onsite collections, including services and collections for use in family history research.

Top city for taxing travelers? Chicago

Taxes seem to be in everyone’s thoughts these days. Most of the talk is about taxing the rich. But, as states as desperate for tax funds as the federal government reach out for money, they turn to sales taxes that hit the middle class in the wallet. Chicago is the city that taxes tourists the most of any U.S. city.

“A traveler spending a night in Chicago can expect to pay an average of 81 percent more in taxes than when visiting Fort Lauderdale, Fla., all else being equal,” said Joe Bates, vice president of research for the GBTA Foundation, which released the 2012 annual report on Monday.

This year’s report, “Travel Taxes in the US: The Best and Worst Cities to Visit,” found that taxes targeting travelers impose an average cost of 57 percent more than general sales taxes. Taxes on travel-related services, called discriminatory travel taxes, are for things like hotel stays, car rentals and meals at restaurants. These travel taxes are above and beyond the general sales tax, and are borne largely by travelers…

Delta restarts US oil refinery production

Delta Air Lines is planning to begin refining jet fuel in the refinery that they purchased earlier this year. In a move that has raised eyebrows in the aviation industry, Delta’s purchase of the refinery is an attempt to get control of their fuel costs. Unfortunately, 70 percent of the cost of jet fuel comes from crude oil, the pricing of which Delta has no control. Time will tell.

Delta Air Lines unit Monroe Energy is restarting the 185,000 barrel-per-day Trainer, Pennsylvania refinery it bought last spring, and will be producing jet fuel at full capacity by the end of this month, the one-year anniversary of the refinery’s closure.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commmons by maveric2003