Vallejo Times Herald: North Bay assemblyman seeking to protect local journalism

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Vallejo Times Herald

A North Bay legislator says he expects to introduce legislation next year to protect local journalism.

California Assemblymember Marc Levine, D–Marin County, announced this week he intends to author a bill exempting newspapers from sales tax — in an attempt to counteract damaging tariffs.

The legislation would also aim to protect workers when newspapers change owners, his office said.

“President Trump calls journalists the enemy and his trade policies actively undermine local news by artificially inflating newsprint costs,” said Levine in a press release from his office. “We need to take the side of our constitutionally protected free press. We can reduce the tax burden, provide incentives and design labor protections to counter profiteering by hedge funds. A commitment to a free press is necessary for a functioning democracy.”

Levine said that tariffs placed on Canadian paper, which is used to print newspapers, have caused costs to increase by at least 30 percent. It’s a cost local publishers argue could put them out of business, Levine’s office said.

Levine further said the tariffs are hurting the journalism business, which is already suffering from declining ad revenue.