Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pennsylvania politicians target newspapers

This just in from our "If it ain't broke, why fix it department."

Some members of the bloated Pennsylvania Legislature have nothing to do, so they're inventing problems so they can solve them.

Public notices or legal notices are those tiny little ads in the classified section of your local newspaper that tell you when various government boards (borough council, township supervisors, planning commission school board, etc.) hold their meetings and what's on the agenda.

They are published in paid-circulation newspapers because somebody actually reads those newspapers.

Some lawmakers want to take away the legal notices from newspapers and allow government agencies to put them in any publication or post them online.

The Reading Eagle explains in an editorial why it's such a bad idea.

Here's my view of those "shopping guides" people throw on porches or lawns or the ones dumped outside supermarkets.

I find a merchandiser on my porch every week. I either pick it up and throw it on the recycling pile unread or I leave it on the porch for several weeks until it turns yellow, then pick it up and put it in the recycling pile.

Never read them. Would never think to look for legal notices in one of them

I have a theory about why lawmakers are going after newspapers. In 2005, pressure from newspapers forced the Pennsylvania Legislature to repeal its huge, middle-of-the-night pay raise.

In 2006, pressure from newspapers forced 55 lawmakers to either retire or get kicked off the ballot by voters.

In 2007, pressure from newspapers exposed the sham of Act 1, which lawmakers touted as property tax relief.

In 2008, 26 Pennsylvania lawmakers chose to retire rather than face voters. More will be thrown out of office on Tuesday and in November.

The move to drive legal advertising away from newspapers is the latest example of vindictiveness on the part of Pennsylvania lawmakers against newspaper for exposing the shenanigans in Harrisburg.

It's payback. Pure and simple. If the politicians can force newspapers out of business by taking away advertising revenue, they won't have anybody watching them as they pillage taxpayers.

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