NEW YORK – The New York Press Association and small town publishers, including the Evening Sun, are advocating for the passage of New York’s 'Local Journalism Sustainability Act.’
The act provides tax credits to support the hiring of local journalists and a personal income tax credit for subscribers.
In year one the bill provides for a 50 percent tax credit on all newsroom salaries up to $50,000 per employee (maximum $1M per year) and a 30 percent credit for the next four years. It also provides a personal income tax credit for subscribers, up to $250 annually.
Even the smallest newspapers, where staff often make much less than that amount, will gain from this benefit.
New York’s newspapers having been speaking out and urging state legislators to include the bill’s provisions in the 2024 budget, which will hopefully be voted on next week.
The Senate bill (S625A) is sponsored by Brad Hoylman-Sigal and the Assembly bill (A2958A) is sponsored by member Carrie Woerner.
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is a common sense way to help local news outlets survive and continue to inform the public.
New York’s community newspapers are led by journalistic entrepreneurs who are creative, disciplined business strategists and innovators who are willing and able to invest for the long term to serve the communities they live in.
Large investment entities, hedge funds, and private equity firms have swooped in and purchased hundreds of community newspapers – selling the real estate, gutting the staff, and eroding the public trust in media. Trust and credibility suffer as local news organizations are lost or diminished.
However some, like the Evening Sun, still remain independent and locally owned.
Public and government officials should care about small, local news organizations.
Local news organizations have helped set the agenda for debate of important public policy issues through the stories and extended coverage they provided on local issues, and their editorial pages recommended specific solutions.
Local newspapers build community by encouraging regional economic growth.
Community newspapers encourage social cohesion and political activism by localizing national and regional issues such as health care, gun control, and the opioid crisis.
Absent the coverage by community newspapers, important local stories go unreported.
Community newspapers have the ability to educate citizens, to connect us to people and issues we may know nothing about.
The business model that supported local journalism has collapsed (print advertising from local and regional businesses) and the majority of dollars invested in digital goes to Facebook and Google. Neither Facebook nor Google (who employ no professional journalists) are an acceptable default medium for providing local news.
The fate of hundreds of communities and our democracy is at stake. This is a worthy investment. Other things to consider are the increased costs of newsprint, ink, and distribution.
Please note other things being funded in the $227B 2024 NYS budget:
- $700M Film Production Tax Credit annually through 2034
- $92.5M tax credit for Musical and Theatrical productions in NYC through 2025
- $40M in grants to the NYS Council on the Arts, which continues to administer $100M in previously allocated funds.
- $92.5M to the Olympic Regional Development Authority for facilities upgrades
Information provided by the New York Press Association and Press Service.
- Dick Snyder, Evening Sun Publisher
- Tyler Murphy, Evening Sun Managing Editor