Rep. Stefanik co-sponsoring bill to ensure local news remains available across U.S.
A bill introduced into Congress July 16 could prevent more communities from becoming “news deserts” and help ensure local news remains available across the U.S.
North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act that provides tax credits for subscribing to a local newspaper.H.R. 7640 also offers a tax credit to small businesses that advertise in local media and a payroll credit for news organizations that employ journalists.
“Our local news outlets are so important to the North Country, especially in our more rural or isolated areas,” she said.
The bi-partisan bill would provide:
• a $250 annual tax credit to subscribers who invest in local journalism
• a tax credit up to $5,000 the first year and $,2500 the next four years to small businesses that advertise in local media, providing a meaningful incentive to support the important work of news organizations
• a tax credit to news publishers for each journalist employed, equal to 50% of the salary the first year and 30% for the next four years
Revenues have plummeted at many papers since the pandemic started, forcing them to lay off news staff, said Dean Ridings, CEO of Americ'a's Newspapers, a 1,500-member neationwide newspaper advocay group. “That threatens the access to vital news by people in the community,” he said.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our news outlets, newspapers, and TV and radio stations have gone above and beyond to deliver up-to-date information to our North Country residents in a timely fashion,” said Stefanik.
“I am proud to be cosponsoring this bill to support readers, advertisers, and publishers and keep local news media sustained. I look forward to advancing this legislation along with my House colleagues and supporting initiatives like this to keep local journalism thriving.”
The Seattle Times supported the measure in a recent editorial. “This bill would create some breathing room while more systemic reforms are put in place to ensure a vibrant, local free press system will continue to serve communities across the country.”
The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat from Arizona, and Dan Newhouse, a Republican from Washington state.
Advocates for the bill are striving to get 100 Congressional representatives to co-sponsor the measure and are working on obtaining bipartisan support for a Senate bill. They hope it will be included in the next stimulus bill or adopted by the end of the year.