House Democrats’ Tax Bill Lavishes Subsidies on Local News
House Democrats are keen to raise taxes on corporations, high-income earners, and users of vaping products to pay for their $3.5 trillion spending bill. But they’re cutting local newspapers some slack by slipping a special subsidy for publishers into their latest tax proposal.
Under the tax bill released by the House Ways and Means Committee this morning, local publishers would get annual tax credits of up to $25,000 for each journalist they employ, which could then be put toward their employers’ share of Medicare payroll taxes. The value of the credit would fall to $15,000 after the law has been in effect for a year.
This would be a refundable tax credit. In other words, if the value of the tax credit exceeds the Medicare taxes a publisher pays, the publisher would receive the difference in the form of a check from the IRS. This transforms the policy from a targeted tax break to a direct subsidy.
These tax credits would be available to local newspapers, defined as any print or digital publication with no more than 750 employees that produces “original content derived from primary sources,” that primarily serves a “regional or local community,” and that employs at least one local journalist.
A local journalist, in turn, is defined as an “individual [who] regularly gathers, collects, photographs, records, writes, or reports news or information that concerns local events or other matters of local public interest.”
The idea of providing an effective wage subsidy to local journali
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