Transparent News

The 'Star' takes a creative look at Arizona's tax burden.

The Arizona Daily Star's recent attempt to blend front-page pseudo news coverage with a pre-conceived editorial agenda was not only in the fine tradition of the old Hearst rags at their worst, but ineptly transparent.

Page One headlines proclaimed "AZ at the Bottom--State Lacks Cohesion in Establishing Vision, Applying Stamina"; "Rebalancing Tax Burden is Called Key" and "The Legislative Leadership Gap"--all hardly objective news stories.

The series, by Rhonda Bodfield, ran a few superficial comparisons with other states and wasted space asking mostly irrelevant individuals how they felt about it. That space could've been used to further analyze some of the numbers Bodfield dumped on us, like a comparison of per-capita taxation against per-capita income, something both she and the Star's editorial writers ignored, possibly because it totally contradicts their basic thesis.

Taking the raw numbers Bodfield gave us, but ignoring the significance of them, Arizona's individual tax burden is 6.2 percent of per-capita income. That places us 32nd and ahead of such "primitive" jurisdictions as Florida, Texas, Oregon, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The problem is not--as the Star and many others allege--"Republican tax cuts," but Republican (and Democratic) overspending on badly conceived priorities. Individual Arizonans pay way too much to be last in anything.

After three days of this, the Star wrote an editorial on it. Their cure? Gotta RAISE taxes on individuals and LOWER them on corporations. Reforms? Eliminate term limits and give legislators four-year terms! Huh? They just told us the problem is caused by all the jerks we have in office, and their solution is to let them stay there longer?

There are currently nine states scoring above us in those areas Bodfield selected that have no personal income tax at all. Many states that RAISED taxes (while Arizona was lowering them) are in even bigger financial trouble. The real story is how much Republicans here--and elsewhere--have pissed away, not how much they've saved.

Our legislators often suck, but those in other states suck too, sometimes more. For the Star to title their editorial "Ideology Rules" is ludicrous when the Star itself is a classic example of ideology--corporate liberalism--exemplified by Publisher Jane Amari, who would be equally at home running a Wal-Mart or a maquiladora for that matter.

It's way past time the real left noticed that--even if it takes an old rightee to point it out.

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