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Will a $1.67 Billion Federal Perk for Local Media Help the Black Press? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Dr. John Warren (Photo provided)

President Joe Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion reserve Remake a better plan It benefits community news publishers across the United States by offering tax credits that reward local news organizations by hiring journalists.

However, California and some black newspapers across the country say that while the $ 1.67 billion worth of proposals are well-meaning, they do not benefit their business.

“My first reaction was to applaud. This is the first time the president has announced plans to even acknowledge our existence,” he said. “Parliament passed the Conservation Act in 1970, but it did not protect us from the losses we saw decades later.”

Warren points out that tax credits are not a major event for companies with losses.

“To be profitable, you need to be profitable. Most of our papers are not profitable, at least in substance, due to pandemics and other factors,” Warren said. “I think it would have been better if there were bids advertised in local newspapers, such as bids for public works projects. I think it’s meaningful and sustainable.”

According to Warren, there are less than 5,000 community newspapers nationwide. Of that number, black paper accounts for less than 200.

“At some point, there were about 600 papers in the country,” Warren said, referring to publications owned and operated by Black.

The bill provides each employee with credit to pay an employment tax of up to $ 25,000 in the first year and $ 15,000 in the next four years.

Proponents say the provision provides an incentive for some publishers to hire and retain local reporters. The tax credit will be approximately $ 1.67 billion over 10 years.

On Friday, the US House of Representatives voted to approve the Build Back Better Act, casting 220-213 votes in line with party policy. The bill is currently directed to the US Senate, and lawmakers are expected to make many amendments after Thanksgiving.

The provision has been temporarily removed from the plan. However, it was restored after a swell of support from mainstream community news agencies.

Lisa Collins (Photo provided)

The new draft has strengthened important details surrounding the inclusion of public and commercial broadcasters for compensation and stronger rules for eliminating political advocates. There is also a limit to the amount of money a company can receive.

“This is a big step forward for the strong local press and for the communities they serve,” Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of the Report for America, told Poynter.

Conservative opponents of the clause call this measure a “media bailout” and believe that federal support creates a bias in the way news is reported.

Waldman, who has led the promotion of tax credits, believes the money will support different types of media outlets.

“This approach is a simple, content-neutral, nonpartisan, First Amendment-friendly way to store local news,” Waldman told CNN Business. “We are focusing on the core issue that the collapse of the business model has led to a shortage of local journalists. It focuses on helping the newsroom maintain or hire local journalists. increase.”

Lisa Collins, publisher of LA Focus, a Los Angeles-based African-American newspaper, said she was excited to hear about the move. But when she read the details, she wasn’t convinced that the provision would help her publication.

US Congressman Barbara Lee (Photo courtesy)

Collins says she relies primarily on a team of freelancers and contractors. Many of them are not seeking full-time employment and the cost of transferring them to W-2 employees will be exorbitant for her.

“I observe that such initiatives work better when they are involved in figuring out the concept and how it works for those who are intended to benefit. “.” Collins said. “No one included our publication in the conversation. No one invited us to the table.”

A component of the Build Back Better plan includes efforts to reduce childcare costs. In other words, the United States provides two years of free preschool education every three and four years old. It also provides tax cuts for more than 35 million families by expanding federal child tax credits. Funding efforts to address climate change, reducing greenhouse gas pollution, reducing consumer energy costs and promoting environmental justice, is a central element of the plan. The law also includes funding to increase affordable medical and housing tax credits.

“This bill is just the first step. We will continue to tackle many of the challenges faced by millions of people across the United States,” said US Congressman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13). I am. “I urge my Senate colleagues to act swiftly to pass this bill, which creates jobs for high-paying trade unions, addresses racial and economic inequality, and Poverty will be reduced. We look forward to sending this bill to President Byden for signing. “

Will a $1.67 Billion Federal Perk for Local Media Help the Black Press? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Will a $1.67 Billion Federal Perk for Local Media Help the Black Press? – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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