The bipartisan Local Journalism Sustainability Act would address the catastrophic collapse of local news, in a way that will build a better local news system for the future.  The bill provides a sensible approach because:

  • It helps local news by amplifying the choices of consumers and small businesses, rather than having the government pick winners and losers
  • It is strictly nonpartisan and guards against government favoritism or manipulation of media
  • Helps small media as well as larger players, nonprofits as well as commercial models, digital and print, communities of color and rural areas.
  • It is not just a stop-gap but rather would help create a stronger, more inclusive local news system in the future.

The key provisions are:

Tax credit helping consumers to buy newspaper subscriptions or make donations to nonprofit local news organizations

  • Up to $250 (consumers must put in some of their own money to get the full benefit)
  • Must be for news organizations covering local or state news, under 750 employees [1,000 in the Senate version]
  • Must have at least one reporter working in the area of coverage

Payroll tax credit for local news organizations for journalists

  • Up to $25,000 for journalists on staff (creating an incentive to retain journalists) in year 1, up to $15,000 for years 2-5
  • For for-profit and nonprofit news organizations

Payroll tax credit for small businesses to advertise with or provide sponsorships to local news organizations

  • $5000 tax credit to businesses this, $2500 for years 2-5.
  • Local news organizations can include newspapers, websites, radio or TV

Here are more details on how the bill works, the actual legislative language, and a dive into the weeds of what the bill’s components would do.

The bill has been endorsed by the following members of the Rebuild Local News coalition:

America’s Newspapers

Local Independent Online News Publishers

Institute for Nonprofit News

National Association of Hispanic Publications

National Newspaper Publishers Association

The NewsGuild-CWA

National Newspaper Association

Local Media Consortium

National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Report for America/The GroundTruth Project

American Journalism Project 

Solutions Journalism Network

Lenfest Institute for Journalism


Public Knowledge

Richner Communications

Wick Communications

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Colorado Media Project

Journalism Funding Partners

PEN America