Tax incentives for local news reporting – good idea or bad idea?

Sounds good on the surface but what if a president declares a paper an “enemy of the people” and takes away their tax break? And how do you define “local?” But it sounds great for a small ultra-local paper, especially a start-up.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s $1.85 trillion social spending bill includes a provision that, if it becomes law, would mark the first time the federal government has offered targeted support in response to the decline of local news.

The help would come in the form of a payroll tax credit for companies that employ eligible local journalists. The measure would allow newspapers, digital news outlets and radio and television stations to claim a tax credit of $25,000 the first year and $15,000 the next four years for up to 1,500 journalists.

It’s a response to growing alarm that the elimination of newsroom jobs is leaving communities without access to critical information. The concern has grown since a hedge fund with a reputation of ruthless cost-cutting acquired Tribune, one of the nation’s largest newspaper chains, in May. Already, about one-fourth of the country’s newspapers have closed and half of local journalism jobs have evaporated in the past 15 years, according to research from the University of North Carolina.

But the credit, which would cost $1.67 billion over the next five years, does create some tension for the industry. Some top Republicans in Congress have derided it as a handout. Leading journalists also acknowledge that it’s awkward to receive financial assistance from a government they cover independently. … d25ebccac4

But I still say the best solution is to get off the “subscription only” nonsense and let internet users “buy a copy,” just like we used to with newspaper racks.

Statistics: Posted by John Q. Public — Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:21 pm — Replies 0 — Views 10