Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Morning News Besmirches Beebe

"Beebe Explains Taxes," blares the headline on Page 5A of today's issue of The Morning News in a story about Rogers Republican Senator David Bisbee's failure to pay his Benton County property taxes. The article by Scarlet Sims, the award-winning journalist, nowhere mentions Governor Mike Beebe, but the editorial staff slams him by implication with the misleading headline. Was it intentional malice? Was it sloppy journalism? Do the editors and staff of the Stephens, Inc.-owned chain newspaper know the difference? Someone finally fixed the online version.

The story is a good one. Senator David Bisbee, a developer, had financial problems and a $3 million debt on a failed subdivision. Arvest Bank held the note and eventually took part of the property in partial settlement of Bisbee's bad debt. He now says the almost $1,800 in 2006 property taxes are not his responsibility. Arvest paid the $417 it owed last month. Linda Bisbee paid the $1,382 in overdue property taxes six weeks late on the couple's home, cars, and private boat dock.

David Bisbee is now a Republican candidate for Benton County Judge, and Linda Bisbee is a Republican candidate for the state legislature from Benton County. Almost all Benton County Republicans run on a pledge of "No New Taxes" for education, highways, and human services, and they claim that Governor Mike Beebe and all Democrats are tax-and-spend liberals. The Bisbees walk the walk and also favor "No Old Taxes" either.

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