Fort Worth and Dallas are just 30 miles apart, but the attitudes on the opinion pages of the two daily papers might as well be from different planets. Both papers strongly supported the gas tax hike and fee increase plans pushed by government-financed lobbyists. TFR and other groups successfully defeating the measure on the merits, so today’s editorial pages are very revealing.

The Fort Worth Star Telegram still supports the plan, but acknowledges on their pages “our plan was thoroughly rejected, notably in the House.” They add, “it’s not our opponents’ fault that the plan was so easily killed; it’s ours.”

The Star Telegram editorial board goes so far as to say that “hiring a hard-hitting lobby firm and putting such fierce local effort, including editorials in the Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News, was heavy-handed and helped bring about its demise.”

Further, the paper acknowledges supporters “did not have a good answer to those who said our region should not be asking to raise more money from taxpayers when so many local cities have chosen not to devote available sales taxes to transportation.”

They conclude: “regional leaders must spend time re-crafting it to meet the objections that were raised this year. That includes talking with opponents about what went wrong.”

All this means one simple thing: the Star Telegram is actually interested in solutions.

Not so for their neighbors to the east. The Dallas Morning News’ editorial piece this morning drips with vitriolic animosity.

They write that the defeat of their tax-and-spend measure provides “not a better example of negligence out of this lawmaking session.” (They missed the memo about property taxes left unaddressed and the ongoing problems with the margins tax.)

The Morning News contends “Self-interested members were more concerned with looking ‘tax friendly,’ and they conspired to bury the proposal.” How shocking! Elected officials wanting to be seen as tax-friendly during a recession!

The piece uses words like “ignored” and “stubborn” and “undermined” to describe the thoughtful, reasonable objections of folks who had better ideas on how to address the very real problems facing the Metroplex and all of Texas.

With this kind of coverage, and attitude, it remains no surprise that the DMN loses readership faster than they lose legislative battles.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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