Key Republican and Democrat Join Forces to Strengthen Local News

Rep. Claudia Tenney, a conservative Republican from New York, this week introduced a new bill to significantly strengthen local news by providing tax breaks to small businesses that advertise with local news outlets and payroll tax credits to local news organizations to hire and retain journalists.

The Bill Text | Summary | “Dear Colleague” | FAQsCommentary

The Community News and Small Business Support Act (HR 4756), co-sponsored by Rep. Suzan DelBene, a Democrat from Washington, draws key elements from the Local Journalism Sustainability Act. However, it puts greater emphasis on the bill’s support for local businesses and strengthens the safeguards against “pink slime” organizations getting benefits.

The bill provides up to $5,000 in tax credits in the first year to restaurants, grocery stories and other small businesses that advertise in local news (print, digital or broadcast) and up to $2,500 in each of the four years after that. The refundable payroll tax credit provides news organizations up to $25,000 per qualifying employee in the first year and $15,000 after in each of the four years after to retain or hire local reporters. The bill sunsets after five years.

The Community News and Small Business Support Act has been endorsed by broad range of local news groups including:

  • National Newspaper Association
  • America’s Newspapers
  • Rebuild Local News
  • News/Media Alliance
  •  The NewsGuild-CWA
  • Texas Press Association
  • Mississippi Press Association
  • Tennessee Press Association
  • Louisiana Press Association
  • Florida Press Association
  • Georgia Press Association
  • Alabama Press Association
  • Arkansas Press Association
  • Kentucky Press Association
  • Ohio News Media Association
  • South Dakota Newspaper Association
  • Illinois Press Association
  • Idaho Allied Dailies
  • Nebraska Press Association
  • Hoosier State Press Association
  • Arizona Newspapers Association
  • Kansas Press Association
  • Michigan Press Association
  • Missouri Press Association
  • New England Newspaper and Press Association
  • Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
  • West Virginia Press Association
  • Wisconsin Newspaper Association
  • Wyoming Press Association
  • New York Press Association
  • New Jersey Press Association
  • Colorado Press Association
  • Connecticut Daily Newspapers Association
  • MDDC Press Association
  • North Carolina Press Association
  • South Carolina Press Association
  • Minnesota Newspaper Association
  • Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Iowa Newspaper Association
  • Washington Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington
  • Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association
  • Vermont Press Association
  • National Association of Hispanic Publications
  • Communication Workers of America
  • Institute of Nonprofit News
  • Local Independent Online News Publishers
  • International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors
  • Local Media Consortium
  • American Journalism Project
  • The Lenfest Institute for Journalism
  • The Afro-American Newspapers
  • National Federation of Community Broadcasters
  • Solutions Journalism Network
  • PEN America
  • Report for America / The GroundTruth Project
  • Association of Alternative Newsmedia
  • Civic News Company
  • Public Knowledge
  • Al Cross, director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
  • Main Street Media of Tennessee
  • The Washington Informer
  • Black Voice News
  • The Tucson Sentinel
  • Record-Journal Media Group
  • The Examiner News
  • Key Biscayne Independent

Steven Waldman, chair of the Rebuild Local News Coalition, whose members represent more than 3,000 local newsrooms, praised the legislation:

“This bill is a conceptual and political breakthrough because of the substance and who is championing it.  The approach would dramatically help local news in a First Amendment-friendly way. It also creates a template for Republican support to rebuild local news, both in Congress and state legislatures. Sometimes when bills broaden their political scope, the substance gets watered down. Not this time.  The combination of these two policies would have a massive, positive effect on strengthening local news, while also helping restaurants, groceries and other small businesses.”

Rep. Tenney said:

“As the former owner and publisher of the Mid-York Weekly, a local weekly newspaper, I understand how essential it is to support local newspapers and provide our communities with locally-sourced news,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. “The Community News and Small Business Support Act ensures that local newspapers can continue to deliver vital news stories that matter most to our communities while allowing for our small businesses to grow and our communities to stay informed. I am thrilled to introduce this bill alongside Congresswoman DelBene and will continue to advocate for local newspapers and small businesses.”

Rep. Delbene said:

“In today’s digital world, access to trustworthy and reliable news is more important than ever. Local journalists and newspapers play a critical role in increasing involvement in civic institutions, identifying government corruption, and decreasing polarization. Yet, this industry is struggling more than ever to keep the lights on,” said DelBene. “The legislation we are introducing today would provide much-needed support for newspapers so local journalists can continue their invaluable work.”