Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bill to ‘publish’ tax rolls on the Internet would undermine the public trust in government

Posting the tax rolls online would cut into the revenue streams of newspapers such as the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Reno Gazette-Journal. The Las Vegas Sun would be indirectly affected because it is published under a joint operating agreement with the Review-Journal and receives a small percentage of the revenue generated under the agreement.

AB307 is penny wise and pound foolish. Whatever money the bill would save, it could cost the public much more in lost trust in the government.

So the people’s business is in plain view, governments by law are required to publish tax rolls, contract bids and other basic information in newspapers. Under the proposed law, counties would be able to post tax rolls on Web sites outside the view of many members of the public.

Not everyone owns a computer or uses the Internet, and just 44 percent of the adult population has ever visited a government Web site of any kind, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.


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