New York taxpayers will underwrite journalists

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A new expenditure for residents of New York — a bill that has taxpayers paying for reporters at newspapers has been introduced in the state’s legislature.

It’s part of a push across the country to have newspapers join the ranks of public broadcasters, who also receive taxpayer underwriting.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly member Carrie Woerner announced that the next year’s budget has tax credits of up to $30 million as a “much-needed investment in local journalism” to “support the salaries of local journalists.”

But it’s only the “first step” in government holding the purse strings of more news outlets. It’s not just public broadcasting anymore.

“Local journalism plays an essential role in our communities,” Heastie said. “Not only does it provide critical coverage of local elections, but it also joins communities together through a shared knowledge of high school sports teams, new businesses coming to the area and issues impacting readers’ everyday lives. This funding is the necessary first step in ensuring local journalism is protected and supported for many years to come.”

“I’m honored this funding provision made it into this year’s budget,” Woerner said. “It’s reported that roughly 2.5 newspapers closed each week of 2023, and this number is expected to rise year after year. By providing journalists the funding they need to continue their critical work in keeping us all informed about our local communities, we’re connecting neighborhoods and filling the information void.”

In Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News and the Juneau Empire are in steep declines with public distrust at an all-time high in newspaper reporting. The editorial board of the ADN blames cable media and others for their bad reputation:

“News reporting has gotten a bad rap lately. It’s not as though that’s happened for no reason: Unfortunately, some media outlets — particularly national cable news networks — have been all too eager to chase viewers by appealing to their pre-existing biases instead of staying above the partisan fray, blurring the line between opinion content and news programming. Their decision to pick sides has been profitable, but it has eroded trust in news reporting well beyond the outlets themselves. And that loss of trust has been actively pushed by politicians — some local, some national — who recognize that if they can get their supporters to distrust the news, they won’t believe the reporters who inevitably find the skeletons in the politicians’ closets,” the Anchorage Daily News wrote in an editorial in 2022 titled “Keeping the government honest is a full-time job.”

Must Read Alaska began as a publication intended to keep the mainstream media honest. It’s also a full-time job.

The ADN and other newspaper owners have been fighting to keep government-paid advertising in the paper, which is reducing its print edition severely later this year, according to employees who have spoken to Must Read Alaska confidentially. As legal ads go away, so leaves one of the last remaining streams of revenue for legacy newspapers.

The New York legislation, which is being replicated in other states, will allow publishers to use the $30 million in tax credits each year over the next three years to cover half of the salaries of journalists — up to $50,000 each year. The credit can apply to current staff, but also provides an additional $5,000 to companies for each new employee hired to support local papers in expanding their newsroom.

The tax credits are not just a tax break for newspapers — they are a shift of the tax burden to working New Yorkers.

New York’s tax system ranks 49th overall on the 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index published by the Tax Foundation (New Jersey is No. 50). New York has a graduated individual income tax, with rates ranging from 4.00 percent to 10.90 percent. There are also jurisdictions in New York that collect local income taxes

9 COMMENTS

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, George Soros has been paying for the editors at the Anchorage deli news for years. When I learned of that a few years back is when I stopped purchasing the Anchorage daily news.

  2. If this is what is meant by freedom of the press, how long is it until we begin receiving our government issued firearms and regular allotment of ammunition?

  3. Of course they will. The left hates genuine competition and needs reliable propagandists.

    Not that it matters, but how in a real world could anyone be expected to even try to be objective regarding government when the government is helping pay them?

    Pravda, but not as honest or trustworthy.

  4. This is a BAD idea. There’s a reason we need a free press, despite its faults and foibles: Democracy won’t work without it, says Freedom Forum. The grand experiment in self-governance that is the United States is rooted in trust and confidence we all will work toward the greater good. Just look at National Public Radio. Let’s hope this does not spread across the country.

  5. And of course, those who are considered “journalists” under this legislation will be ONLY those who toe the establishment party line.

    Pravda, eat your heart out!

  6. because of all the grants paid over the years for such things as Public broadcasting like PBS. These people no longer know what exactly government should be paying for beyond a city and states basic necessities like police, fire, and road.

    See why I always say get yourself the dependency of any government aid. Very little the government should be supporting public broadcasting, education, homeschool allotments, pre-k, health care, job training, we shouldn’t been raised believing government owes us anything whether or not you are indigenous.
    Then we end up facing moral problems as this one.

  7. There’s no place for government paid media in a free country. Free thinking people are seldom interested in what the government has chosen for us to believe. One sided media is the reason for the failure of certain media outlets, besides the format itself being outdated.

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