New York’s Newspaper and Broadcast Media Jobs Program

New York Passes Nation’s First Local Media Tax Credit, Historic $90 Million Investment

New York is now the first state in the country to incentivize hiring and retaining local journalists, setting a precedent for other states and the federal government to follow. Over the past few months, the tax credit received a groundswell of grassroots support thanks to the newly launched Empire State Local News Coalition, a campaign driven by more than 200 local newspapers across New York. With rallies, petitions, advertisements, and editorials, the coalition quickly mobilized local communities, elected officials, and influential labor leaders to weigh in on behalf of this game-changing policy.

The bill’s passage arrives as local news faces an existential threat not just in New York but throughout the nation. One-third of the country’s papers have closed since 2004, and tens of thousands of journalism jobs have been lost. All told, about half of all U.S. counties are considered news deserts—down to their last newspaper or without one at all.

This historic push behind this bill offers a replicable model for other states seeking to enact their own version of this legislation. Multiple efforts across the country have not been successful to date, but now have renewed momentum after the victory in New York.

The program--$30 million per year for three years--allows each eligible newspaper and broadcast business to receive a 50% refundable tax credit against the first $50,000 of an employee’s salary, up to a total of $300,000 per business.

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What is the Local Journalism Sustainability Act?

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is a bipartisan state bill that provides a refundable tax credit to local news organizations for the compensation of local news journalists.

A local news organization can receive up to a $25,000 credit per eligible news journalist and up to $200,000 of total credits in each market that the local news organization serves.

There is one version of the bill in the Senate (S.625C), sponsored by Senator Hoylman-Sigal, and one version of the bill in the Assembly (A.2958C), sponsored by Assemblymember Carrie Woerner. is a real estate development firm that specializes in community-driven projects and innovative design.

What local news organizations are eligible for the tax credit?

An “eligible news journalist employer" is any employer which: (i) is a qualifying publication or a qualifying broadcast station; (ii) employs news journalists; and (iii) employs a total of 100 employees or fewer. Importantly, each FCC licensed broadcast station or qualifying publication which serves a separate market shall be treated as a separate and single news journalist employer for the purposes of this tax credit.

A “qualifying publication” is any print or digital publication that:(i) provides local community news, which is published during the calendar quarter and has been published during each of the four calendar quarters preceding such calendar quarter; (ii) is not a disqualified organization; (iii) did not derive more than fifty percent of its gross receipts for such calendar quarter from disqualified organizations; (iv)  which is covered by media liability insurance for such calendar quarter; and (v) which publishes the owner's name pursuant to section three hundred thirty of the general business law, provided that a digital publication shall publish the information required by such section on the website of such publication.

A “qualifying broadcast station” is any broadcast station that: (i) provides local community news, which is broadcast during the calendar quarter and has been broadcast during each of the four calendar quarters preceding such calendar quarter; (ii) owns or operates a broadcast station, as defined by section three of the Federal Communications Act of 1934; (iii) is not a disqualified organization; (iv) did not derive more than fifty percent of its gross receipts for such calendar quarter from disqualified organizations; and (v) discloses its ownership to the public at such times and in such manner as identified by the commissioner.

What is considered a “market”?

Given that the eligible organizations are providing community news, a market for an individual news outlet should be considered the community that individual news outlet serves (neighborhood, municipality, etc.).

Are nonprofit local news organizations eligible?

Yes. The tax credits would be available to local news entities organized as c-corporations, s-corporations, limited liability corporations, and nonprofits.

How is an eligible “news journalist” defined?

An eligible news journalist is defined as any full-time employee that provides qualified services for at least 30 hours per week and who resides within the designated market or fifty miles of the local community. “Qualified services" means services which consist of gathering, preparing, directing the recording of, producing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, presenting or publishing original news for dissemination to the local community.

What if a local news company is part of a larger chain or publicly traded company with more than 100 employees; can it qualify?

Since the employee cap is applied to each market, as long as an individual news outlet employs 100 or fewer individuals in a designated market, it will be eligible for the benefit.

How is the tax credit calculated?

An “eligible news journalist employer” would receive a 50% tax credit against the first $50,000 of each eligible news journalist’s salary, up to $200,000 of total credits in each market that the employer serves.

The tax credit is capped at $20 million statewide. This is a large number for a new tax credit and paves the way for future expansions should local news outlets make use of it. This model proved successful in implementing the state film tax credit (which started at a $25 million cap and today is at more than $700 million per year through 2034).

How will the tax credits be allocated if there is more than $20 million in demand?

The mechanics of this will be worked out at a later date. The Empire State Local News Coalition realizes that this is a critical piece to the success of the program, so we plan to be at the table to ensure final logistics are fair to all qualifying organizations.

What is the advantage of this tax credit being refundable, as opposed to non-refundable?

Since the tax credit is refundable, news organizations do not need a tax liability to receive the benefit. This means that local news organizations can benefit from the full credit amount even if the organization is not profitable, which is unfortunately the case for many local news outlets. (Conversely, a nonrefundable tax credit means that an organization would not be able to receive a credit for anything more than its tax liability; thus, organizations without a profit – who arguably need this credit the most – would not be able to receive any of the benefit of a nonrefundable tax credit.)

What is the status of the legislation?

The senate version of the bill was included in the Senate’s proposed budget resolution, a critical step for inclusion in the final state budget and the farthest the bill has advanced in the legislative process since it was first introduced in November 2021.

Why are the Senate and Assembly versions of the bill different?

Each chamber of the legislature must submit its respective budget proposal. The Senate was most receptive to including a version of the Local Journalism Sustainability Act in its budget proposal. The bill’s presence in the Senate’s budget plan ensures its consideration in final state budget negotiations between the Senate, Assembly, and Governor.

The Senate’s version of the bill reflects changes requested by the Senate Majority Conference. The tax credit would not have been included in the Senate’s budget proposal without these changes.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act maintains widespread support in the Assembly, including among the influential leadership of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Caucus.

Why is there an employee cap in the Senate bill?

The 100-employee cap was requested by the Senate Majority Conference to address concerns about ensuring the tax credit benefits truly local news organizations as well as to reduce the cost of an uncapped program.

The 100 employees number was chosen by the Senate to match the state’s definition of a small business. The Empire State Local News Coalition successfully advocated for the 100-employee cap to be applied to each organization by the market that they serve, as opposed to being applied to the organization as a whole, which substantially expanded the number of local news organizations that can qualify for the tax credit. By our count, only seven out of multiple hundreds of newspapers in New York State have more than 100 employees in a given market; these are the Albany Times Union, Buffalo News, Newsday, New York Post, New York Times, Syracuse Post-Standard, and Wall Street Journal.

Absent this cap, it is all but certain that the Local Journalism Sustainability Act would not have been included in any FY '25 budget proposals and would thus be excluded from the ongoing budget negotiations.

Does the Empire State Local News Coalition also support the Assembly version of the bill?

Yes. We would like the bill to be as expansive as possible. However, we believe that implementing a tax credit that the Governor and the legislature can agree to and benefits the vast majority of news outlets in New York is preferable to having no tax credit at all. Once a credit is in place, we will continue advocating for the most expansive and effective incentive program possible in future budgets.


Business Groups

Association for Better New York
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Buffalo Niagara Partnership
Business Council of NYS
Business Council of Westchester
Capitol Region Chamber of Commerce
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Long Island Association
Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce
Nassau County PBA
New York Restaurant Association
North Country Chamber of Commerce
NYS United Teachers
Partnership for NYC
Queens Chamber of Commerce
Upstate United
NYS United Teachers

Democracy Organizations

Brennan Center for Justice
Citizens Union
Common Cause
League of Women Voters


Island Harvest
New York Conference of Mayors
NYS Association of Counties
NYS Council of School Superintendents
NYS Public High School Athletic Association
NYS School Boards Association
NYS School Music Association
Police Athletic League
Red Cross
Revson Foundation

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