It may not be signed into law soon, but Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash. have introduced a bill called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.
Among other things, the bipartisan measure would provide tax credits to local newspapers, subscribers and advertisers.
“Local Journalism is a bedrock pillar of communities across the United
States,” Kirkpatrick states. “
The goal is to “make sure these publications can sustain themselves through this crisis and beyond,” Kirkpatrick adds. The package includes:
A $250 subscription credit that would cover 80% of costs in the first year.
Subscribers who stick would receive a $500 credit in each of the following four years.
A local journalist compensation credit of $25,000 in the first year, covering 50% of a $50,000 salary. Then there would be a credit of $15,000 — or 30% — in each of the next four years. The person would have to work 100 hours per quarter to qualify as an employee.
A $5,000 local newspaper and local media advertising credit, covering an estimated 80% of ad costs in the first year. It would total $2,500, or 50% of costs. To qualify, a small business would have to spend $6,250 and $5,000 in each of the respective periods.
The newspapers and journalists would have to be focused primarily on local news to qualify.
Newhouse argues by “providing tax credits for readers and small businesses and by empowering our local journalists, we can begin to help our small newspapers remain resilient and continue to provide in-depth perspectives that inform their readership regarding local current events.”
Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers, adds: “The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will provide meaningful assistance as newspapers seek to provide information in new ways to meet the needs of their audience.”