In the midst of massive COVID-19 pandemic disruption, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) brought forth a bi-partisan proposal to offer tax relief to small businesses, residents and local newspapers.
The program is not a check but rather a tax credit for each to work together in support of keeping local journalism sustainable during this damaging business environment.
The program is highly targeted, offers broad benefit and expires in five years.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is designed to offer tax credits for subscribers of The Daily News (or any other qualifying newspaper) of up to $250 per year. This would allow a subscriber to earn a tax credit for subscription price to a local newspaper like The Daily News. The idea is to help individuals continue their access to local journalism during a time of economic difficulty.
The act also offers small businesses, those with fewer than 1,000 employees, a tax credit to cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in each of the following four years. This will allow small businesses to drive customers while investing into qualified local journalism.
And finally, the act will offer a payroll credit of up to $25,000 the first year and $2,500 in each of the the subsequent years to employ and adequately compensate local journalists.
All elements of the act sunset after five years. Relief is given in the form of tax credits, not direct funding.
Local journalism is an important element of American society — and one we feel contributes to a better nation through the sharing of opinions, facts and the invitation for civil conversations.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will help local small businesses, consumers of news and smaller local community newspapers much like the newspaper in your hands today.
The Daily News is the oldest newspaper in Texas — around longer than statehood itself. We’ve always worked to provide our citizens and community a newspaper they could proudly call their own. This is our time-honored call and mission.
We are a small business and privately held. No fancy towers in New York City. No, our modest world headquarters sits right off Interstate 45 as you cross onto the island. And our employees are as local as they get. You see us at the local grocery stores, farmers markets and places of worship.
Our hope is that your support — the action of reaching out to your congressional representatives — will allow us to continue to serve and play a role in our community for years to come.
Please reach out to U.S. Rep. Randy Weber and encourage his support of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.
Leonard Woolsey is president and publisher, The Daily News, Galveston, Texas, and president, Southern Newspapers, Inc.