The News Media Alliance, in its newsletter this week, sent out a request for support for its effort to include tax credits for newspapers in federal legislation. 

From the NMA newsletter:

Representatives Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) are planning to introduce legislation early next week that would provide a range of tax credits that would support local newspapers, small- and medium-sized businesses and local broadcasters. The legislation, called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, would provide tax credits that will help newspapers sustain high-quality, original reporting in their local communities. 

The legislation would provide:

* A five-year non-refundable credit of up to $250 annually to incentivize individual subscriptions to local newspapers, defined as print and online publications with 51 percent of its audience in state or single area within a radius of 200 miles. The credit can cover 80 percent of subscription costs in the first year and 50 percent of subscription costs in the subsequent four years.

* A five-year refundable credit, up to $25,000 in the first year and $15,000 in the subsequent four years, for local newspapers to employ and adequately compensate journalists.

* A five-year non-refundable tax credit that would incentivize small- to medium-sized businesses to advertise with local newspapers, as well as local radio and television stations. The credit can cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in the subsequent four years.

While not as broad as we would like, the Alliance believes these tax credits will encourage Americans to subscribe to local news publications, newspapers to hire and retain journalists, and Main Street businesses to advertise, which will help both advertisers and media outlets as local communities re-open. 

Reps. Kirkpatrick and Newhouse have sent a letter to their colleagues in the House of Representatives asking them to join as original co-sponsors of the legislation.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We encourage local news publishers to call your representatives in the House of Representatives in their district offices over the next week and ask that they join as original co-sponsors of the legislation. Democrat members of Congress should contact Ben Owens (Ben.Owens@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Kirkpatrick’s office and Republican members of Congress should contact Aaron Larson (Aaron.Larson@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Newhouse’s office to co-sponsor the legislation.

Given the tightening legislative calendar, it is uncertain if these proposals could make their way into a moving legislative package (together or separately) before the November election. However, a strong bi-partisan sign of support will help make the case that these proposals should be seriously considered by Congress. 

If you have any questions, please contact Alliance Senior VP, Public Policy, Paul Boyle at paul@newsmediaalliance.org or 571-213-4365.