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Our Views: 10 principles guide Gazette viewpoints

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January 4, 2014

A decade ago, The Gazette Editorial Board unveiled 10 principles to guide our editorial views. As we discuss our opinions, we keep these standards in mind and try to be true to them.

It isn't always possible. Sometimes, one principle conflicts with another. For example, laying the groundwork for economic development might add to our tax burden, at least temporarily.

Through the years, we believed we followed our principles well. In 2012, however, we reversed course on our opposition to an expansion of gambling. That principle raised concerns that many casino jobs offer low pay and that economic benefits would not offset problems that habitual gamblers impose on families and society.

Jobs have been slow to come, however, as Rock County's economy struggles to recover. In 2012, we threw our support behind the Ho-Chunk Nation's proposed Beloit complex after speaking with state Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett, a Beloit native. She told us how casinos near Bayfield and in Green Bay have stirred more economic development and suggested a Beloit casino might draw convention and meeting business from Madison.

After dropping one principle, we decided to explore ideas for a new one to keep the number at 10. Today, as we start another year, we're unveiling a new No. 10. While it doesn't speak to our editorial positions, it reinforces our vow to keep our editorial pages open to all viewpoints. Some readers don't understand or believe that, given our conservative leanings when we endorse candidates. We don't pretend to have all the answers. We want the community's input, and we welcome opposing views.

OUR PRINCIPLES:

1. The Gazette supports economic development and policies that promote growth of small businesses and jobs. We oppose rules that unnecessarily impede business expansion.

2. The Gazette believes a strong public school system is important for attracting businesses and economic development. Good schools are vital to a good community, and quality schools require regular investments.

3. The Gazette favors protecting our environment and hunting and fishing rights. We endorse efforts to save and restore Wisconsin's waterways, forests and other natural resources so future generations can enjoy hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. The state must strike a balance—protecting natural resources without placing undue burdens on businesses and industry.

4. The Gazette takes a conservative stance on taxes. We reject most new taxes as licenses to spend money. We urge government officials to instead find new, innovative ways to trim expenses and find other sources of revenue.

5. The Gazette opposes unfunded mandates as contributing to inefficient and ineffective government. Mandates imposed without proper consideration of costs in relation to benefits hamper local governments and schools in their attempts to set and meet priorities.

6. The Gazette believes in strong families and in the values that build them, such as honesty, fairness and respect for yourself and others. Parents have a duty to teach their children about ethics and integrity. Employers should do all they can to support families.

7. The Gazette generally believes in a policy of live and let live when it comes to private lives. Government shouldn't intrude on private lives when lifestyles don't affect others.

8. The Gazette believes in clean, open, principled, efficient government that benefits from cooperation and compromise between political parties.

9. The Gazette takes seriously its role as a government watchdog. Monitoring government and exposing wrongdoing are roles we've taken seriously for more than 150 years. As a locally owned company, the Gazette is beholden to no one and strives to serve our communities in a fair and noble way.

10. The Gazette believes in providing a forum for a range of opinions from across the political spectrum. Through this exchange of ideas, we hope the best ideas emerge to help lead our communities, state and nation forward.



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