On Saturday April 5th, the Union Sun & Journal had the following entry in its weekly "Cheers & Jeers" editorial section: "Speaking of traveling out to Indian reservations to purchase a too-highly taxed item, (county)legislators are looking into limiting the amount of tax the county collects per gallon of gasoline. Currently, the county collects a tax of 4 cents on every dollar spent on a gallon of gasoline. The proposed gas tax cap, introduced by Legislator Sean O’Connor, calls for the county to stop taking its share of the tax at $3 per gallon, thus limiting the amount collected to no more than 12 cents per gallon. Sure, it’s basically pennies were talking about — unless things go bad and gas does rise to $4 a gallon — but it all adds up. It should be a no-brainer for legislators, but it’s got one big factor working against it — it was proposed by Democrats. If we were you we wouldn’t expect even a small measure of relief at the pump any time soon."
Pretty innocuous stuff, simply stating that capping the gas tax would be a good thing.
Here is the problem: The next entry also appears in the Union Sun & Journal "Cheers & Jeers" editorial column, this time on May 3rd: "Again, don’t be fooled by what some politicians are proposing in a gas tax ‘holiday.’ The only holiday us motorists would see is if the supplier dropped the cost, not the state or county governments share of the tax. That would be all well and good, but the suppliers would need to fall in line with the drop in price for us to see any difference. What’s expected is that the local and state politicians would drop their end of the tax, but then the suppliers would bump it right back up."
Three weeks ago, the editorial board, in response to a resolution proposed by O'Connor, stated that the county Legislature capping the sales tax on gasoline "should be a no-brainer for legislators."
Their second position directly contradicts their first position. It's possible that they didn't take into consideration the supplier issue when they initially stated their position on this issue. But of course, they have not changed their position on the gas tax "cap". If they suddenly realize that the suppliers would not pass along the savings under gas cap proposal, they should have changed their position on the first proposal. They obviously assume that the public is too stupid to recognize this blatant inconsistency in their position.
However, I'm afraid that this something beyond ignorance,and I'm afraid that I'm over-complicating the position of the paper. In fact, it's worse than ignorance - it's partisanship. For a newspaper that repeatedly accuses the County Leg of being too partisan, the editorial board is using that forum to promote their own personal political beliefs, possibly at the expense of taxpayers.
How do I arrive at that conclusion? Simple: A resolution proposed by a Dem that would save a few pennies is wholeheartedly endorsed by the board. A resolution proposed by a Republican that would eliminate the sales tax altogether is opposed.
The media is a powerful tool with great responsibility. To use it in this manner is reckless at best, and the people of our community deserve better. Let's hope the editorial board starts taking its own advice; put the politics aside and start acting in the best interest of the people.