Sunday, July 10, 2016

Proposed 14.3% drop in sales tax is good deal for consumers

Broken chairs blocking access to the pumps at a shuttered gas station on Passaic Street in Hackensack.


It's been apparent for years that readers of The Record often see important issues with far more clarity than all-seeing, all-knowing editors, columnists and reporters.

On Friday's editorial page, a letter to the editor took Columnist Charles Stile to task for getting the math wrong on a proposed hike in the gas tax to pay for road, bridge and rail repairs in exchange for a cut in the sales levy.

"The reduction in the sales tax would have been from 7 percent to 6 percent," Joe Kennelly of Ramsey wrote. "This is not a 1-cent break, as Stile heralds in the first paragraph of his [July 1] column.

"It would have been a 14.3 percent drop in the sales tax," Kennelley says of a plan pushed by Governor Christie and rejected by the state Senate.

"The 23-cent increase [in the gas tax] increase would be less on a percentage basis, based on today's oil prices and ultimately [have] much less impact to most consumers," his letter said.

"Certainly, most of us pay far more on items that are taxed by sales tax than we pay for gasoline."

Endless politics

The Ramsey man's letter also highlights how The Record and other media rarely deal in issues and whether a proposal is good for New Jersey or the nation.

Instead, every plan is examined in terms of partisan politics -- as is clear once again on Page 1 today -- in a gross disservice to readers.

On the proposed gas tax-sales tax deal, nearly every story has talked in terms of Christie vs. the Democrats who control the state Legislature, and no one but Kennelly has mentioned that consumers would save more money overall.

The Record also has ignored the environmental benefits of higher gasoline prices and improved rail service -- no surprise from a newspaper that depends so heavily on advertising revenue from car dealers and manufacturers, as well as oil companies.

Local news?

As further evidence that Staff Writer John Cichowski has completely lost it, see his Road Warrior column on the Local front today.

He reports a Hackensack woman's E-ZPass makes her trips across the George Washington Bridge "so deliciously convenient" (L-1).

The lead local story today reports on Saturday morning tractor-trailer accidents on Route 287 in Oakland that injured no one.

Staff Writer John Seasly, normally assigned to cover Hackensack, mined his sources to find out one of the trucks carried beer (L-1).

Meanwhile, environmental reporter James M. O'Neill's entertaining story with photos on a vintage baseball game in River Edge was played inside the section, even though it is a far better read than a report on truck accidents or Cichowski's idiotic column (L-3).

The headline was a good one, too:

"A baseball game with no gloves,
and the umpire wears a top hat"


Given all the readers struggling to control their intake of sugar, the headline on Staff Writer Elisa Ung's column on the Better Living front today might as well read:

"Diabetes makes a sweet return to relevance"

Gannett deal

"The Record is a North Jersey institution," Staff Writer Kathleen Lynn wrote in her story reporting the sale of the Woodland Park daily to the Gannett Co. of McLean, Va.

"Founded in 1895, it has been owned by four generations of the Borg family, starting in 1930."

Still, I have not seen a single letter to the editor commenting on the sale of this "institution" since Lynn's story ran on Thursday's front page.

And the account that appeared on on Wednesday afternoon also doesn't have any comments.

Is censorship at work here?

Or, maybe readers just don't care.


  1. As further evidence that the Road Warrior is so "deliciously" incompetent:

    Someone, who had problems due to EZ Pass not correctly charging him based on the greatly discounted car pool toll for the GW Bridge, indicated that people, who are signed up for the Car Pool Plan, should check their EZ Pass statements to make sure they get the discounted car pool toll, which the Road Warrior indicated is "$10.50 instead of $15 off-peak and $12.50 during peak hours".

    The car pool toll is actually $6.50 regardless of the time of day.

    His Sunday column is littered with other idiotic and incorrect statements.

  2. We can only hope Gannett shows him the door.

    1. We can also pray that Gannett shows him the door.

  3. It is possible that readers do not immediately care about the acquisition since I just called The Record newsroom and the young person who receives readers' comments about news stories indicated that she has not seen any such readers' comments.

  4. Here is another comment from Jeff Ross:

    "As further evidence of the shocking hilarity of the Road Warrior's incompetency:

    "Road Warrior reported again about drivers, who had been ticketed around last November, for failing to stop for a decoy cop, who was dressed as Donald Duck, trying to cross at an intersection.

    "The Road Warrior reported that he had been told by one of his readers that those who failed to stop "were let off because the law states... the duck was not a pedestrian".

    "Now many of us know that NJ laws are sometimes beyond belief, but there is absolutely positively no law in NJ that references anything about ducks not being a pedestrian. You'd have to be an imbecile to allow that to be published.

    "The hilarity is due to additional relevant info, which was left out of the reader's quoted statement due to the three dots that are shown in the article, that I am guessing would have made the reader's complete statement more sane.

    "It would kind of be like a public official stating that:

    "God is always ready to give comfort to those with faith. Some people might think this is stupid."

    "And The Record then reporting that this public official stated that:

    "God is... stupid."

  5. You realize, of course, that should John Cichowski opt to retire one day, or should Gannett decline to renew his option, for the subsequent five years, perhaps longer, the Record could simply run "Classic Road Warrior" columns like National Public Radio has done with Car Talk ever since Tom Magliozzi passed away. I'm sure that would happen just so Deirdre Sykes could continue to push your buttons.

    1. Look at how much weight she lost when she started to push my buttons instead of shoveling food into her mouth.


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