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Posted April 2, 2014 | comments Leave a comment

Online Comments: Tax hikes, no MTV: What's got you riled?

By Linda Ash

If you're not visiting nvdaily.com, you might not know what your neighbors are saying about the news of the day. Their comments, posted through their Facebook accounts, range from being thought-provoking, funny and delightful to read, to, well, not so much. But there's a whole community of people offering up their opinions and ideas online, and we're happy to provide that forum.

Since we moved to the Facebook comments online platform two years ago, we have had nearly 7,000 comments posted on our website. In comparison during that same time period, we've had around 750 letters to the editor printed in the Northern Virginia Daily. Combine the comments expressed online with those in print, and we're close to 8,000 opinions!

In the past week, the topics that have drawn the most comments online include those on stories about real estate taxes in Warren and Shenandoah Counties. The story about Warren County voting to advertise a 2 cent real estate tax has generated around 50 comments, most of them by a few individuals debating the Affordable Care Act.

One reader posted:

"School employee's health insurance costs are increasing? Perhaps now is a good time for Virginia's legislators to embrace the Affordable Health Care act and receive federal funds to lower health insurance premiums? Oh, wait. This is Republican Tea Party territory..."

Another reader responded:

"ACA is a loser, it's a gross overreach of governmental power.
That's why the Party of Mo' is running from it."

The story on Shenandoah County set to advertise an increase in the real estate taxes drew comments from several folks on both sides of the issue:

One reader posted:

"No one warmly welcomes a tax increase, but I hope our community understands that our schools are struggling with the cuts from the past few years and that this money is needs-based. This increase will cost my family around $205/year or $17/month. That's less than one family meal out to eat, which I'm more than willing to sacrifice."

Another reader noted:

"Very important for people against to be there when the doors are unlocked. Last year there very little room as teachers filled up first. I am empathetic, that teachers want raises and we should have the best schools, HOWEVER..tax increase kills businesses, need more employers, more funds for emergency services. Bring in tourist dollars, build business and opportunities will come to solve all issues."

Last week's story on Shentel possibly dropping Viacom channels due to a price increase touched a nerve. It drew more than 20 comments. Here are a few:

One reader posted:

"Why can't the subscriber choose whether they want this? Not everyone gets HBO or tons of sports channels. Let subscribers decide..."

Another posted:

"Can you imagine if Aereo were serving the community and offering over the air television with streaming to your internet devices and personal video recorder access for $8.00 a month? The media conglomerates would choke."

By the way, Shentel dropped Viacom channels on Tuesday after negotiations failed. Visit this story today to view comments, or post your own thoughts on this topic -- or on any of today's local news stories.

If online commenting is not an option for you, send in a letter to the editor. Our submissions policy is located on this page, and online at www.nvdaily.com/opinion.

Linda Ash is editor of the Northern Virginia Daily. Email her at lash@nvdaily.com.


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