Thursday, November 18, 2021

Journalism tax credit back in the Build Back Better bill

A provision supporting local news is back in Democrats' Build Back Better bill, Farnoush Amiri and Tali Arbel report for The Associated Press. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act was removed earlier this month as the White House and Congress tried to reduce the cost of the $1.85 trillion social-spending bill.

The provision, estimated to cost $1.67 billion over the next five years, entails "a payroll tax credit for companies that employ eligible local journalists. The measure would allow newspapers, digital news outlets and radio and television stations to claim a tax credit of $25,000 the first year and $15,000 the next four years for up to 1,500 journalists," Amiri and Arbel report. "The provision put in place guardrails to try to keep money from going to partisan sites that masquerade as local news or fake-news operations while casting a broad net about which organizations are considered legitimate local news outlets, whether they are hedge fund-owned chains, nonprofit, print, digital, radio or TV."

Though some top Republicans have derided the measure—Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana called it a scam in a recent tweet—more than a dozen House Republicans support it, AP reports: "The proposal’s fate ultimately hinges on how Congress proceeds with the broader legislation, which has only attracted Democratic support and has become bogged down by divisions in the House and Senate. Notably, it is one of the few provisions to which House and Senate Democrats have already agreed." And that may be one reason it's back in the bill.

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