Hiring Tax Fix: Newsrooms Could Get A Break For Recruiting Local Reporters

The Empire State Local News Coalition, a group made up of over 100 local newspapers in New York State, is urging passage of a bill that would provide tax credits to news outlets for hiring local reporters. 

News executives rallied at the state capitol in Albany last week in support of The Local Journalism Sustainability Act. 

It is not clear that this bill has a chance of passage. The Senate included the measure in its one house budget resolution, but legislators face an April 1 deadline for enacting the FY’25 state budget. 

Still, there is an urgent need for relief. The coalition notes that New York State has suffered a 50% decrease in the number of newspapers since 2004, and that thousands of jobs have been lost. Orleans County lacks a local newspaper.

“Hometown papers deliver the hyperlocal updates and investigations necessary to sustain a community’s civic and financial well-being,” says Zachary Richner, founder of the Empire State Local News Coalition, a group founded earlier this year. “As local news declines, critical stories are lost and communities become more polarized.”



It sounds good in theory. But how would this bipartisan bill work if passed? 

It would provide a 50% refundable tax credit for the first $50,000 of a newsroom employee’s salary. 

The credit would be capped at $200,000 per outlet and $20 million statewide. 

However, only certain organizations need apply: the bill covers print and online newspapers and broadcasters with 100 employees or less that cover community news. 

Also attending the rally last week were Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, Senator Monica Martinez, Assemblymember Michaelle Solages and Assemblymember David Weprin.

The bill was sponsored by Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner.

“It’s been said that democracy dies in darkness,” says Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal. “A thriving local news industry is vital to the health of our democracy, so I’m proud that our Local Journalism Sustainability Act (S.625C) is in the Senate’s one house budget and I’m hopeful that through it we can establish a payroll tax credit to help keep our community news outlets afloat.”


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