To the Editor:
I find it noteworthy that in the March 26 column on Rep. Michele Presnell’s opposition to the proposed 50 percent increase in the room tax there is no clear indication that the writer had attempted to go into depth with Rep. Presnell, R-Burnsville, herself concerning the reasons why she says the bill is “still controversial.” If in fact such an attempt was made, her answer for some reason best known to the editor was not shared with his readers, which would seem to constitute a disservice to them, even in an opinion piece.
It may be that the reason Rep. Presnell opposes the increase has to do with the knowledge that tax increases often have the opposite of their intended effect — in this case by encouraging people to find better deals elsewhere or to stay in places where the room tax rate is the same but where there are more local attractions. It could be that she is aware of the tendency of our local governments to be rather vague and general about what they intend to spend the money on. It might be that she — and a substantial number of her constituents — have concerns about the fairness of imposing a tax that burdens one sector of the local economy but not others. All these reasons may be in play, but we do not know, because either she wasn’t asked or her answer was not shared with us.
I also find it noteworthy that in the same column, when writing of the recent Haywood County GOP resolution opposing the room tax increase, the editor neglected to mention that the vote of delegates from all parts of the county in favor of the resolution was overwhelming. This fact seriously calls into question Commissioner Ensley’s claim that a “small faction” has taken over the county party. This sort of spin is typical — if illogical, given the nature of majority rule — when one’s own faction has been defeated, and that decisively.
It is also worth noting that Mrs. Presnell’s brief is to represent all her constituents — those who do not serve on elected or appointed boards as well as those who do. These boards (whose political composition is not nearly so bipartisan as Mr. Ensley’s statement would make it appear, by the way) are not supposed to constitute some sort of impermeable barrier between the citizens of the county and their representatives in Raleigh, nor is their opinion necessarily worthy of being given greater weight than that of those citizens whose money they propose to tax and then spend.