Letter to the Editor

Trust in government

Jeff Maurer's guest commentary in Thursday's paper (Nov. 18) regarding the use tax issue was both enlightening and troubling. It seems old information was used to claim that sales tax revenue was declining, while current information shows just the opposite. Sales tax revenue has increased in the most recent years. Yet city officials used that old information to urge approval of the new tax. We were led to believe that new revenue was needed to curb a decline. It seems we've been tricked.

Many of us have come to expect deception by the federal government, and even some by state government. But in general we trusted local government because those folks are our friends and neighbors. We approved the new tax in part because we thought sales tax revenue was declining and needed a boost. Now we learn that our approval was based in part on misinformation.

Those officials who knowingly mislead us should understand that such action erodes trust in government. And those officials, past and present, who mislead us without knowing the facts should know that their credibility is on the line. Otherwise, their endorsement would have no meaning.

I'm afraid this incident is an example of why so many people do not trust government. We reap what we sow, government included.

Gary L. Gaines, Cape Girardeau