Local Journalism Sustainability Act update — progress

Tonda Rush

Oct 1, 2021

The National Newspaper Association made progress in September with the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, legislation by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, and Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, that would provide various tax credits to support news organizations and their customers.

The portion of the bill that would extend payroll tax credits for journalism jobs found its way into the House version of the Build Back Better Act, the so-called reconciliation bill targeted for passage later this year.

NNA expressed concern that a critical segment that would also provide refundable tax credits for newspaper advertisers was omitted in the House. But Cantwell assured NNA and its allies that she would try to get the ad credit back into the package.

NNA assisted the Senate Finance Committee in clarifying the bill’s language to help newspapers avoid burdensome paperwork to be eligible to offer credits to their advertisers. NNA Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said the LJSA still had a long way to go and many hurdles to clear before it becomes law, but he hoped the final language in the bill would be stronger when the full Senate reconciliation package is complete.

The reconciliation bill is expected to come before Congress in October and is likely to be voted on by party lines, with Democrats promoting passage and Republicans opposing the larger bill because of its cost.

The White House announced it was looking for a $3.2 trillion bill, but several moderate Democrats have already announced the bill must be smaller to gain their support.

NNA is taking no position on the BBBA, except for the provisions relating to the newspaper industry.