Rep. Joe Cunningham (SC-01) today cosponsored the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, bipartisan legislation that proposes a series of tax credits aimed at bolstering local newspapers and media in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local news publications were already facing financial difficulties prior to the onset of COVID-19. Now, in the wake of the severe economic challenges caused by the pandemic, the industry is facing increased challenges to remaining sustainable.
“I recognize the vital importance of our local news outlets in the Lowcountry,” Rep. Joe Cunningham said. “During COVID-19, our local papers, TV, and radio stations have done a phenomenal job delivering timely and critical information to our community. I am proud to support bipartisan legislation that provides tax credits for readers, journalists, and advertisers to keep Lowcountry news outlets afloat and protect the essential service they provide.”
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act offers a series of three tax-credits aimed at sustaining and providing a pathway to viability for the local journalism industry in the years to come. The first credit works to incentivize annual subscriptions to local papers that primarily produce content related to local news and current events. The second credit is a five-year refundable credit for local newspapers to employ and adequately compensate journalists. The last of the three credits is a five-year non-refundable tax credit that incentivizes small-to-medium sized businesses to advertise with local newspapers, as well as local radio and television stations.
The proposed credits in the Local Journalism Sustainability Act will encourage Americans to subscribe to local publications, help those publications retain and compensate journalists, and provide businesses and publications alike with much-needed advertising dollars.