More government aid to newspapers
The last time I mentioned the word “bailout” in connection with newspapers, I caught my fair share of flak from the conservative blogosphere for even entertaining the notion. I also caught a few rounds from Connecticut lawmakers who thought that I was suggesting their attempt to help secure tax breaks for struggling newspapers amounted to a bailout.
Having said that, it looks like Washington state is getting into the aid game as Hearst Corp weighs killing its Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper.
Here’s an Associated Press report about Washington’s state House of Representatives approving a temporary tax break for newspapers:
Supporters said they were hoping to both protect jobs and bolster an independent press, citing newspapers as an important watchdog of government and other powerful interests.
“We are starting to lose the ears and the eyes on government, on all kinds of things in our society,” said the bill’s prime sponsor, House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam.
The House endorsed the bill Tuesday night by a vote of 91-5. It now moves on for consideration by the state Senate.
The bill would give newspapers and businesses that print newspapers a 40 percent cut in their state business tax through 2015. The discounted rate mirrors breaks given in years past to the Boeing Co. and the timber industry.
Maybe they could draft some legislation requiring people to buy at least one newspaper subscription a year. Now there’s a bailout plan.