Usually reliable WKRN reporter Chris Bundgaard deviated from the facts in a News 2 at 10 report tonight on theorized connections between taxes and outmigration to the suburbs. In a report on the passage of the property tax referendum amendment, Bundgaard parroted Ben Cunningham's speculations that higher taxes are the first, if not only cause of people moving from the city to the suburbs.
There are numerous causes of suburbanization, including perceptions about race, schools, crime, mobility, density/overflow, and costs of transportation. However, we cannot even speak about suburbanization--as Bundgaard did--as if it is absolute; instead, when we talk about outmigration, we also must address the fact that because of reversals of earlier perceptions based on cultural and economic shifts, reurbanization and inmigration are slowing if not flipping suburbanization in spite of higher taxes in urban areas, in spite of Cunningham's ubiquitous apples-versus-oranges charts.
Yet, Mr. Bundgaard failed to mention any of these countervailing points as he uncritically transmitted Mr. Cunningham's anti-tax urban mythology complete with charts. It is clear that the urban myth serves Mr. Cunningham's political purposes in slowing or stopping all revenue streams for Metro services. It is not clear why Mr. Bundgaard spread the unexceptional myth: was he just being lazy and not doing his research or was he actually being biased in favor of Cunningham's Tennessee Tax Revolt organization?
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