Reader Cites Concern Over National/Local News Differences, Calls Local Tax Non-Increase Out for Deceptive Tactics


To the Editor of the City County Observer:

Is anybody else concerned about the blatant differences in federal/national news coverage vs. local?

Nationally, I have read all sorts of reports about renewing the Bush tax cuts. But renewing the Bush tax levels is talked about in the media across the political spectrum as a tax cut, specifically one that needs to be paid for. Over and over and over, despite challenges to that “tax cut” label. The reports focused on a fundamental point that the policy proposal comes at a “cost” to governmental budgets and that the recent election results carried a message about concerns over debt levels.

Can’t I then assume then that a planned reduction in property taxes that is postponed due to government action, should be properly labeled a tax increase, right? And surely, a report about new debt will mention recent election results, right?

We just had an amazing Courier & Press report about Evansville, planning a new bond offering. In the story per city controller, Jenny Collins, “[They are] taking a property-tax rate that originally was to expire Jan. 1 2011 and extending it to 2013”. She said, “taxes will not rise to pay for the project but neither will they fall as soon as they otherwise would”. (

Ok, I see how this works?

Nationally: If we’re scheduled to get an increase in taxes, and arguments are made to extend the reductions – that is a new “tax cut”. And any politician that supports that proposal is regularly peppered for specifics of where to get the money from.

Locally: If we’re scheduled to get a decrease in taxes, and arguments are made to extend the higher levels – it’s basically just reported as something that’s going to happen.

Unlike the national story, the Republican in the story didn’t even make the fundamental case for labeling this an increase in taxes – although he probably should have. But don’t get me started about the difference between our local political parties.

To add to the convoluted nature of this “tax increase”… We’re planning to extend an old property tax rate that was apparently, initially added specifically for city parking garages. The extension of bonds totals $2 million. But only 1/4 of that amount is to be used for, “repairs”, of the garages!

The rest is to be used for, “building three more houses in the city’s Front Door Pride program and providing incentives to attract artists and entrepreneurs to the Evansville Arts District”?

Here’s a heads up to the media, please don’t treat us like we’re fools, waiting to be bonded into oblivion.

1.) Exactly what are the incentives, and how could they outperform the bond requirements?
2.) Does this have a chance of bringing jobs?
3.) Doesn’t DMD already have a budget for “incentives”?
4.) Have they already maxed out their credit card, like the visitors bureau is trying to?
5.) Why hasn’t the garage repairs been done through an operating expense, like most “repairs” are?
6.) If we follow the Stadium story line, significant “repairs” justifies simply building new. Was this considered?
7.) Not only is Evansville building homes and selling them well below construction costs, we’re bonding out those costs! So we all pay interest on that deficit amount, too?
8.) How many years will the bonds extend?
9.) Are these bonds federally subsidized?
10.) Is it prudent to charge every homeowner with a 100K assessment $45 to “repair” garages they can’t use, to build homes they can’t buy, and to help “entrepreneurs” they haven’t met?

The lack of reporting of the basic fundamentals involved, or answering basic questions, or being consistent seems unconscionable. To me, convoluted stories like these are basically political division, served on a silver platter. As evidence, just look at the political sniping that starts on the comment boards.
Earlier I read an editorial today in the WSJ entitled “Who Stole Election Day?”, by Eliot Cutler, an independent candidate that recently lost his election bid. He has an interesting story to tell. But his story amplifies my concerns that the state of elections, general public electoral education, and good government are mired locally in the Courier & Press reporting. It seems in this case, just about enough to get out a fact or two and to stir the pot.

On the other hand, maybe we just get what we pay for? (“Top 5 Companies in the Publishing Industry With the Lowest Operating Margin (SSP, MEG, VCI, TRI, WPO)” -

Dan Effinger
Evansville, IN