by Ray Schultz
States apparently are getting tired of waiting for national legislation that would support local journalism.
The Massachusetts legislature, to name one, is mulling a bill that would provide a tax credit to reimburse the cost of local newspaper subscriptions.
Sponsored by Rep. Jeffrey Turco, a Democrat from the 19thDistrict, the bill would provide consumers with a $250 tax credit for subscriptions to one or more local community newspapers.
To benefit from this, a local print or digital publication would have to primarily serve the local community and consist of content derived from primary sources and relating to news and current events. It would also have to employ at least one local news journalist who resides in the community.
Local newspapers are “really a critical source of news for the people of the communities in getting a message out there, both pro and con,” Turco said, according to 10Boston.
Meanwhile, Oregon is considering House bill 2605, a proposed law that would also provide tax credits for subscriptions to local publications.
Like the Massachusetts bill, the Oregon bill would benefit publications that provide “news and current events coverage that is original content derived from primary sources,” and serve a local community. In addition, the publisher must employ at least one journalist who resides in the area.
The Oregon bill specifies that a taxpayer “may not claim the credit allowed under this section if the taxpayer has federal adjusted gross income in excess of $150,000 on a joint return or $75,000 on any other type of return.”
This legislation would also mandate state grants to Agora Journalism Center and the Fund for Oregon Rural Journalism.
These bills have been introduced as local newsrooms close around the country.
Meanwhile,, an apparently stalled federal bill, the Journalism Sustainability Act, would provide a $250 subscription credit covering 80% of costs in the first year and a $500 credit in each of the following four years.
Also, the House version would subsidize a local journalist’s compensation, with a redit of $25,000 in the first year, covering 50% of a $50,000 salary, and a 30% credit in each of the next four years.
And, advertisers would qualify for a $5,000 local newspaper and local media advertising credit, covering an estimated 80% of ad costs in the first year.
The bill was introduced in 2021.