Senate bows to newspapers

Del. Ron Villanueva’s bill to end the mandate that local governments stroke checks to newspapers for forced advertising was rejected by the Senate General Laws Committee.

Sens. Ruff, Stosch, Martin, Locke, Herring, Petersen, Barker, Vogel, Stuart, Deeds – boy, did you all get this one wrong!

Current law requires requests for proposals and such to be advertised in the newspaper, and since the newspapers are a foundering industry, at great expense to fewer and fewer readers.

By the way, newspapers are EXEMPT from paying BPOL taxes to local governments.

We have current law that requires local governments to buy newspaper advertising, but frees that same newspaper from paying taxes like any other business has to.

That’s insane! The Senate committee preserved an unfunded mandate that forces local government to financially support an industry that doesn’t financially support local government.

Bad move. Sure, cities should have the option to advertise in newspapers. But we at Bearing Drift really don’t support when government forces anyone to buy a private sector service under rule of law. Obamacare, we don’t like.

Actually, a fair bill would be to lift the newspapers sweetheart tax exemption and make them pay their freight like everyone else.

For as many tax increases the editorial boards support, and as many “tax loopholes” they want eliminated, the first one that should go is theirs.

Every time a newspaper talks about tax breaks for big oil, I’ll bring up tax breaks for big ink!

But if newspapers refuse to pay taxes, sweetheart deals like forced advertising should be refused, too.

Bad move, Senate!