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Make your voice heard: Bipartisan bill would provide tax incentives to support businesses, local journalism
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From the Editor

Make your voice heard: Bipartisan bill would provide tax incentives to support businesses, local journalism

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COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the economic foundation of many businesses, including local newspapers.

Here's your chance to help.

In an effort to keep local journalism sustainable, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) and U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) introduced on July 16 a bipartisan proposal called the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, H.R. 7640, to offer tax relief to small businesses, residents and local newspapers.

Whether you're a subscriber, an advertiser, or just believe in the First Amendment and small businesses, here's your chance to really make a difference in your support of local journalism, and get some economic relief for yourself, too.

CLICK HERE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR LOCAL JOURNALISM! USE THIS ONLINE FORM TO SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS TO LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES.

The legislation calls for a series of three tax credits that spans five years aimed at bolstering local media, and allows small businesses, residents and local newspapers to work together in support of keeping local journalism sustainable as we navigate this damaging business climate.

It doesn't raise taxes or divert funds away from other programs.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act would offer tax credits for subscribers to the Santa Maria Times, Lompoc Record and the Santa Ynez Valley news, and any other qualifying newspaper, of up to $250 per year.

The proposal 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 attract customers while investing in qualified local journalism.

Lastly, the proposal will offer a 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.

There is no direct funding involved.

Local journalism is a critical part of our society. It makes us stronger as a nation by providing a platform for the expression of opinions, records our local history through stories about our community and its residents, and acts as a spotlight on local government.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act will help local small businesses, consumers of news and smaller local community newspapers like the one you're reading now, whether it's in your hands or on your phone or tablet.

The Santa Maria Times began publication in 1882 and has chronicled the news of our region nonstop for nearly 140 years. We believe in our mission.

Our employees are local residents, your neighbors, who care about where we live and work, play and worship.

Here's where your advocacy comes in.

We're hoping you'll reach out to your congressional representative and let him or her know you support this legislation that will allow us to serve you, and our community, for years to come.

In the Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo county area, please reach out to U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal by phone in Santa Maria at 805-730-1710, and in San Luis Obispo at 805-546-8348, or through this link https://carbajal.house.gov/contact/. Let him know you support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, and would like him to as well.

You're also welcome to email Managing Editor Marga Cooley at mcooley@santamariatimes.com with your words of support, or use this online portal. We'll forward your comments to our representatives.

To learn more about the Local Journalism Sustainability Act visit https://newhouse.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/newhouse-kirkpatrick-introduce-local-journalism-sustainability-act; or https://kirkpatrick.house.gov/2020/07/16/rep-kirkpatrick-and-rep-newhouse-introduce-local-journalism-sustainability-act/

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