Democrats’ New Tax Hikes Contain Subsidies For Journalists
Freshly printed copies of the San Francisco Chronicle roll off the printing press at one of the Chronicle's printing facilities September 20, 2007 in San Francisco, California.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Democrats’ $2.9 trillion tax plan involves a tax credit for local news journalists.

On September 13, Democrats on the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee — which plays a key role in drafting tax policy — introduced a proposal to raise $2.9 trillion in new federal revenue over the course of ten years. The proposal centers upon drawing more funds from wealthy Americans by raising the corporate tax, the capital gains tax, the estate tax, and the income tax.

However, the proposal also includes a “Payroll Credit for Compensation of Local News Journalists.” As summarized by Editor and Publisher — a journalism industry publication — the tax credit “will provide local newsrooms the opportunity to receive a five-year tax credit of up to $25,000 per journalist in the first year and up to $15,000 in the subsequent four years.”

A local newspaper will be eligible for the tax credit if it “serves the needs of a regional or local community” and “employs no more than 750 employees.”

The Democrats’ new tax policy draws from the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which was proposed by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) in June. Beyond the $12,500 tax credit for local publications, the legislation would grant Americans who subscribe to “one or more local newspapers” a $250 tax credit of their own.

“Local Journalism is a bedrock pillar of communities across the United States,” Kirkpatrick argued in June. “Unfortunately, journalistic endeavors throughout the country face major economic struggles that put the future of many publications in serious jeopardy. These struggles existed before COVID, but the pandemic only made them more severe. We need to make sure these publications can sustain themselves through this crisis and beyond, and I believe the credits in this bill make significant progress in providing a pathway to that sustainability.”

“The ongoing challenges at local newspapers were made worse by the pandemic,” added Dean Ridings, CEO of America’s Newspapers. “The result is even more pressure to maintain newsroom positions and the critical local news gathering that is at the heart of our democracy. As local newspapers continue their progression to a sustainable digital future, the Local Journalism Sustainability Act will provide meaningful assistance as newspapers seek to provide information in new ways to meet the needs of their audience.”

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