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Saving Local News

By Staff | Aug 25, 2020

In the past five months, the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis has wreaked havoc across the country, and Congress has responded with numerous emergency relief measures. Stimulus checks for individuals and households, payroll protection for small businesses, and expanded unemployment benefits are just a few of the actions taken to help keep Americans afloat.

Congress now has the opportunity to pass a relief measure that will help protect local news and reward subscribers like you.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act, introduced in July, is a bipartisan bill that provides for tax credits for subscribing to local newspapers, credit for advertising in local newspapers and local media, and payroll credit for paying journalists who provide local news.

Here’s how the Local Journalism Sustainability Act would help everyone:

Credit for local newspaper subscriptions. The act provides for a nonrefundable tax credit of up to $250 per year to help cover the costs of subscriptions to local newspapers, in print or digital, that primarily produce content related to news and current events. The credit would cover 80 percent of subscription costs in the first year, and 50 percent thereafter, and helps consumers while incentivizing support of local news organizations.

Credit for advertising in local newspapers and local media. Businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees would be eligible for a five-year nonrefundable tax credit to spend on advertising in local newspapers or local radio or television stations. The credit, up to $5,000 in the first year and $2,500 in each of the next four years, would cover 80 percent of advertising costs in the first year and 50 percent annually thereafter.

Payroll credit for journalists. This five-year refundable tax credit would cover 50 percent of compensation, up to $50,000, in the first year and 30 percent of compensation, up to $50,000, in each of the subsequent four years.

This is not a bailout or handout, but rather a much-needed assist with a strictly limited time frame responding to a pandemic that has devastated local newspapers and small businesses across the country.

To help with the passage of this important legislation, please contact your local U.S. representative to ask them to support local businesses, local news media, and your access to the local news that only a community newspaper can provide by co-sponsoring the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

To see how to contact these legislators by e-mail, phone or mail, visit www.usa.gov/elected-officials.