KSTP journalist Jay Kolls reported tonight that Running Aces notified employees today that there would reassignments, but no layoffs, due to a list of factors that Running Aces suggests have had a negative impact on its business.
Whatever the reasons, among those not listed is property taxes. And yet, Kolls — reporter for perennial conservative, anti-tax KSTP — introduces the story by pointing out that Running Aces is the 12th largest payer of property taxes in Anoka County which implies that Running Aces is reorganizing because of the property taxes. [waiting for link]
Therefore mentioning the company’s property taxes begs the question: What do property taxes have to do with the decision to reorganize staff? While it certainly is true that taxes are an expense the company must pay, is it the journalist’s job to suggest the connection, especially given the fact that the company itself chooses not include property taxes as a reason for reorganizing its staff?
Running Aces has struggled in recent years. Attendance and sales are down. The letter Running Aces sent to employees tells them that uncertain economic conditions in recent years is to blame. They further explain that popularity of poker has declined while the company faces increased competition. Yes, they do complain about government statutes and costs — some of that due to improper Running Aces payments the state’s gaming commission identified and corrected — but this is last on the list anyway and still does not blame county taxes specifically.
Kolls story includes an incognito interview with a nervous Running Aces employee and tells us that the mood among workers at the business is down.
One might reasonably conclude from this story that the company’s staffing changes are a factor of its property taxes and could potentially cost jobs. However the company’s own statement makes neither of these claims.
Is this is sloppy journalism or something else? Or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?