The reconciliation bill working its way through the U.S. House calls on the American taxpayer to subsidize Democrats’ media allies. The bill provides a special tax cut for the media under the guise of helping “local journalists” but eligible media companies will receive the funds for up to 1,500 reporters per company.
This provision would provide a refundable payroll tax credit equal to 50 percent of wages up to $12,500 per quarter per employee for the first four calendar quarters and a 30 percent credit for each calendar quarter thereafter.
On page 1,957 of the 2000+page bill, section 138516 would create a tax credit for news organizations, including newspapers and broadcasters such as radio and television:
“The number of local news journalists which may be taken into account under subsection (a) with respect to any eligible local news journalist employer for any calendar quarter shall not exceed 1,500.”
The Poynter Institute today bragged that the tax handout would benefit “broadcasters, public and commercial” in addition to newspapers.
It appears that both NPR and PBS will be eligible to receive this special tax handout. The bill specifically mentions that the credit is not to be applied to “the Government of the United States, the government of any State or political subdivision thereof, or any agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing”; however there is an exception for public broadcasting entities as defined in the Communication Act of 1934. These public broadcasting entities are defined as:
“the Corporation, any licensee or permittee of a public broadcast station, or any nonprofit institution engaged primarily in the production, acquisition, distribution, or dissemination of educational and cultural television or radio programs.”
The progressive group ProPublica, which is trafficking in the stolen personal IRS files of thousands of Americans seems to be eligible as well. The bill disqualifies 501(c) (4) groups but allows 501(c)(3) groups such as ProPublica — to be eligible.
Perhaps not coincidentally, while congressional Democrats push for tax increases, ProPublica publishes stolen private tax information and laments the “lavish lifestyles” of disfavored, “rich” Americans.
The bill also appears to be a big-media power play against small, one-person local outfits. The bill specifically excludes journalists who do not have “media liability insurance.” This could be a cost barrier for many individuals seeking to truly cover local events in their community.
Several large, legacy daily newspapers, tv and radio broadcasting companies also appear eligible for the tax handout. Any newspaper eligible to receive these funds now needs to disclose this fact while editorializing in favor the Democrats’ reconciliation bill.