NY Coalition Pushes for Tax Credits to Save Local News Outlets 

Zachary Richner of Richner Communications speaks at a March 7 rally at the Hastings Library. Photo: Empire State Local News Coalition

Advocates for state legislation addressing a decline in local media outlets by offering a series of tax incentives gathered in Hastings-on-Hudson recently to call attention to what they called a deepening crisis in local journalism. 

The Westchester County rally followed recent decisions by The Scarsdale Inquirer, Rivertowns Enterprise and Bedford Review Record to suspend publication until they could find a path toward financial sustainability.  

The event was organized by Lucas Cioffi, founder of Qiqo.org, a tech startup seeking to create an additional revenue stream for local news organizations; and the Westchester Youth Congress. 

Local supporters were joined by members of the Empire State Local News Coalition, a statewide advocacy group comprising more than 150 local news outlets. 

Supporters at the rally included Zachary Richner of the Long Island-based publisher and printer Richner Communications; Sandra Nam Cioffi of Qiqo.org; Jake Epple of the Westchester Youth Congress; Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner; and state Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky. 

They want the Local Journalism Sustainability Act included in the state budget. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, would provide tax credits to local news outlets for the employment of local journalists.  

Under the bill, news organizations would receive a 50% tax credit against the first $50,000 of each newsroom employee’s salary.  

In response to legislators’ feedback, and to ensure the bill benefits the local news outlets, the coalition supports the sponsors’ proposed amendment to provide the credit to local news outlets with no more than 250 employees and to cap the credit for each local news outlet at $200,000. (Currently the bill caps the credit at $1 million per outlet, regardless of number of employees.) 

An eligible news outlet (print, online, or broadcast) must be in existence for at least one year, focus on local news, and have at least one journalist on the ground in the community that the outlet covers.  

“A thriving local news industry is vital to the health of our democracy, and we should do everything in our power to ensure that New Yorkers have access to independent, community-focused journalism,” stated Hoylman-Sigal, whose district represents parts of Manhattan. “I’m proud that so many publications from every corner of the state have come out in support of this critical legislation.” 

The Empire State Local News Coalition is an alliance of more than 150 news outlets advocating for the long-term sustainability of local journalism in New York.

The coalition includes Richner Communications, Brooklyn-based Eagle Urban Media and BridgeTower Media, which publishes on Long Island and in Rochester and Western New York. 

Since 2005, more than 3,000 newspapers have ceased publication across the country, according to the coalition, with declining advertising revenue, changes in consumer habits, and competition from social media platforms threatening their long-term viability. 

The number of news outlets in New York declined from 501 to 260 since 2004, according to the coalition. In 2022 alone, 30 news outlets closed across the state. A quarter of New York’s counties are down to their last newspaper. Orleans County recently became the first in the state to have none

“The decline of local journalism is a clear and present threat to our democracy,” according to a statement on the coalition’s website. “Hometown newspapers are a foundational part of the American experience; we uplift the stories of everyday New Yorkers making a difference in their communities and serve as watchdogs that hold those in power accountable.” 


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