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Editorial: Newspaper asking for support of HR 7640

The past year and a half has been difficult for everyone as the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to change daily life.

As businesses have navigated this new landscape, everyone has had to get creative to make the most out of what they have and stretch revenue as much as possible.

The Clanton Advertiser saw changes in the number of days it prints a newspaper and the additional of an online subscription option to adjust to a decrease in advertising revenue.

This online subscription may have been a new concept for many as they were asked to pay for content that had previously been totally free.

Our model allows a certain number of articles for free before being asked to subscribe to a free email newsletter. Once this introductory period is over, readers are prompted to support their local news organization by becoming a paid subscriber.

Paid subscribers help ensure that local stories keep getting told and that the facts of local issues will be available from a professional source.

Another way for readers to help support local news is through supporting the Local Journalism Sustainability Act (HR 7640). Right now, this is a bill at the federal level that would create tax credits to increase the sustainability of local news organizations.

The bill proposes three tax credits.

A credit for newspaper subscribers would up to $250 to cover 80% of the cost of a subscription in the first year and 50% of subscription costs for the next four years.

Tax credits for qualifying employers would be available in the form of a five-year refundable credit for paying journalists. This would help local newspapers like The Clanton Advertiser hire and adequately pay journalists that keep communities informed. This credit would be available for five years.

A tax credit for advertisers would provide an incentive to small-to-medium-sized businesses to choose local newspapers, radio and television stations for their advertising.

This five-year non-refundable tax credit would cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in the next four years.

Readers can support this Act by contacting their U.S. representative and senators and asking them to support this bipartisan legislation, which has Republicans and Democrats among its 29 cosponsors.

Readers can find contact information for their U.S. representative here: house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and their U.S. Senator here: senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm.

Please consider lending your voice to strengthening community news.