The Local Journalism Sustainability Act, which would help community newspapers that are flying against stiff financial headwinds, recently passed two significant milestones toward becoming law.

The bill, which earlier this month was introduced in the U.S. House, has now been introduced in the Senate. Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, who represents Galveston County, has indicated he would co-sponsor the House version of the bill. Weber was among five members of the Texas delegation, four Republicans and one Democrat, who co-sponsored a version of the bill filed last year.

Unlike many issues in Washington, this legislation has bipartisan support and is focused on delivering benefits to local communities across the United States by sustaining local news organizations, including this newspaper.

Newspapers are facing significant fiscal challenges because of technological disruption, including Google and Facebook’s use of newspaper content without compensation. This legislation provides an important but temporary means of support to help newspapers in transition to sustainable business models, and it deserves the support of Congressional representatives across the country.

Please join The Daily News in calling on members of Congress to support this legislation.

The act would provide a much-needed boost to newspapers, but it’s not a permanent handout for local newspapers.

Instead, it’s a well-thought-out approach to help sustain local news-gathering efforts through a series of tax credits that expire in five years.

And it not only will provide aid to newspapers but also to subscribers and local small businesses through tax credits that will benefit them directly.

Newspaper subscribers already understand the importance of their local newspapers and that their continued support is critical.

Through this legislation, subscribers will receive a tax credit of up to $250 a year.

It’s a win-win for subscribers because this tax credit will cover a significant part of their annual newspaper subscription, no matter whether it’s print or digital.

The act also offers small businesses, those with fewer than 1,000 employees, a tax credit to cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in each of the following four years. This will allow small businesses to drive customers while investing in quality local journalism.

Not only will this credit offset some of their advertising investment, it also will help them improve their business by reaching more customers and generating more sales. It keeps money invested locally and helps maintain jobs and support other local initiatives.

The act also would offer news organizations a payroll credit of up to $25,000 the first year and $2,500 in each of the subsequent years to employ and adequately compensate local journalists.

All elements of the act sunset after five years.

Local journalism is an important element of U.S. society — and one we feel contributes to a better nation through the sharing of opinions, facts and the invitation for civil conversations.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will help local small businesses, consumers of news and smaller local community newspapers like the one you’re reading today.

The Daily News is the oldest newspaper in Texas — around longer than statehood itself. We’ve always worked to provide our community a high-quality newspaper readers could proudly call their own. This is our time-honored call and mission.

We ask our readers to contact members of the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate and urge them to support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com.

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(8) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]

George Croix

Hmmmmm......

Considering the worthiness of any government subsidies always depends on whose ox is being gored. Of course the beneficiaries of government subsidies favor them. Those others not benefiting...maybe, maybe not.

ALL of us benefit in many ways from many forms of government (read, US citizen and legal resident taxpayers...WE are the government...) paid services or support. Flip side is that many many many of us also pay through the nose for subsidies/benefits/programs of dubious, if not outright outdated or absurd, value (funding the costs associated with a southern border invasion and subsequent astronomical bills mounting for that is but ONE thing coming to mind... Toss in funds used to teach our kids to hate each other or to rebuild police de-funded riot/arson/assault/murder/looting devastated areas would be other, more pressing, contemporary examples...all avoidable but for political narcissism/stupidity/chicanery...

On THIS particular subject, people will be subsidizing an industry that's similar to the Buggy Whip Industry, where a dwindling demand for outdated product leaves fewer suppliers with a bigger share of the remaining market, but by default the best darn buggy whips around. And doing so by offering incentives to buy a dying product, but making other people pay whether they want it or not. Even made a movie about same called 'Other People's Money'...

Sunset in 5 years. Good luck with that.

THAT is TOTALLY dependent on who's in political power at the time, and one can count on very few fingers any government law/subsidy/benefit/programs EVER cancelled once enacted.

A newspaper hard copy is yesterdays news, some of it, the parts selected by each entity to pass along, today...

As much as I am a traditionalist, and enjoy actual books versus Kindle, objectivity precludes elevating the more costly above the more efficient just to be doing so.

Personally, I hate to see ANY good, long time business suffer or fail, as something is forever lost in that, as well as the personal level cost to those displaced.

I DO note with great interest , though, the call for support for this jobs saving bill from the same ideological group of folks who call for 'climate change' related replacing of fossil fuels/products, and the subsequent millions of jobs lost that would entail, not even counting the FACT petroleum based products of a myriad of types provide, far in excess of just automobile use, the production/transport/manufacturing/consumption of EVERYTHING we have in our daily lives - everything. They quite literally enable modern life.

Without them, we can stand naked and starving and 3rd world demonstrating against...ourselves ....

Could, though, revive the buggy whip industry....!

The current bunch of Government Is The Answer folks are hell bent to spend MANY TRILLIONS of bucks on things we cannot afford and selectively beneficial for NOTHING more than buying future votes and building an ever greater base of dependents that can be controlled by virtue of being kept. That boondoggle is still in the works.

Why add more legislation for yet another set of specific subsidies. Just tack this one on.

The answer to that is, of course, like everything else now, political....

.

Wayne D Holt

George, the editorial said the subsidy would cover both print (hardcopy) and digital subscriptions so an objection to this based on the assumption it will just perpetuate an outmoded print-and-distribute model many not be true. News gathering has to take place no matter how it is delivered; those are fixed costs. At some point, even local newspapers may be forced to go to a digital only model because of the cost of newsprint, maintenance of machinery and delivery costs. Hopefully not, but it sounds like this proposal would still help in that case.

I am squarely in your corner vis a vis most of what passes for governance but when it comes to a free press, I would prefer to err on the side of preservation. I fail to see how getting all of our news from USA Today, MSN and other centralized sources of nonsense will benefit the American people long-term. Besides, maybe it will mean a few less Hellfire missiles raining down on other folks in distant lands.

George Croix

Wayne, digital version OR hard copy of this paper are the same content, I think…if wrong then well not my first time to be…

If correct, then they both still have yesterday’s news, or that part of it deemed worthy of passing along based on whatever worthiness standard exists at each location.

I’ll make a WAG that no longer publishing a hard copy, so no longer running the presses or buying newsprint would have to impact those fixed costs that are hurting the newspapers bottom line, along with a best effort at jobs retention, of course. Can’t fault that, but eventually reality, well, bites us all…It’s simply not possible to run equipment and feed it for the same cost of not doing so at all. Much less hand deliver the product.

Personally, I LIKE hard copies, but I can’t square others paying up to help me keep a stock of old ones for future projects. At some point everything we like cannot be expected to be maintained unless it can turn a stand alone profit, without having to pay people to buy…

We should have learned that with the solar cells subsidies debacle….

I’m not so sure we have more than a token ‘free press’ anymore as ideology pervades it everywhere and where we once got just the facts ma’am now we get a heavy, often very often, sometimes complete dose of politically oriented viewpoint seeking to direct as opposed to inform…imho….

A free press tries its best to cover all bases and let readers/viewers decide and provides points of view across a wide range.

I am not nearly as active herein as I once was, or intend to be, so maybe I’m behind the times a bit so I’ll re-ask a question that was one of the last ones I asked some couple years or so ago. With objectivity a goal and a diverse set of backgrounds necessary for that, especially in editorializing and Board recommendations, how many politically conservative reporters, Editorial Board members does this paper have.

About 3 years or so ago the answer was zero.

I don’t think micro-versions of Zuckerberg and Facebook’s decidedly controlled content are that much of a good thing.

Perhaps it all comes down to what ‘free’ means….

Here’s a thought…who or what is truly free when dependent on Uncle Sam to exist, to be a viable entity…?

I just hope we don’t get to the point where the ‘news’ is so busy convincing us that the burning buildings and looting are really peaceful that we eventually get on the business end of that Hellfire courtesy of those ready and willing to stick it to a country of naive drones

Wayne D Holt

"A free press tries its best to cover all bases and let readers/viewers decide and provides points of view across a wide range."

I couldn't agree with you more. I made this same point in regards to an editorial Michael Smith published a few weeks ago. I am very disappointed that valid, documented alternative viewpoints on the Covid issue have been completely passed over by the GDN. It has made me question what else I may not be seeing that, while newsworthy, does not fit the editorial preferences of the decision makers.

With that said, I revert to a fundamental principle I hold regarding decentralization. Anything that offers the potential to slow concentrations of wealth, influence, power or information is something I will be inclined to support.

Major American media has become a Left-centric house organ for what passes for a government in Washington. To the extent this bill may retard that concentration of opinion further, I think it will have achieved a positive, albeit limited, result.

George Croix

Wayne, that 1:44 am post makes a lot of sense. As usual.

I'd ask, though, if you figure this here minor American media newspaper reporting and Editorial Board recommending plays much besides left-centric music....grin.....

George Laiacona

Based on my personal experiences I found that many newspapers are politically biased. One has to be surprised to see that this legislation proposes to be unbiased. I very much like the idea of reading about local events etc. But I can’t leave it there. I use other newspaper and magazine sources in order to get the truth. I do not rely on social media for the truth.

Jose' Boix

The Editorial states: "Through this legislation, subscribers will receive a tax credit of up to $250 a year." And adds, "It’s a win-win for subscribers because this tax credit will cover a significant part of their annual newspaper subscription, no matter whether it’s print or digital."

I am not sure how such "credit" will work, especially when taking the "Standard Deduction." It is interesting that the posted GCDN Annual Subscription is $234.00 for 12 Months (365 days).

Just my thoughts.

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