Good for small businesses. Good for citizens. Good for democracy.

The Supporting Local Media bill, sponsored by Representative Lisa Cutter, provides tax credits directly to small businesses for advertising in local news outlets and to individuals who subscribe or donate to local news organizations. The bill will be heard in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on March 10.

Please sign this formal endorsement form to indicate your publication/organization’s support for this bill.

WHAT THE BILL DOES:

HB22-1121 provides a tax credit to small businesses for advertising in local news and to residents who subscribe or donate to support local news.

How the tax credits work:

  • Businesses may receive a tax credit of 50% of money they spend on advertising in local news, up to a maximum of $2,500 per year.
  • Individual taxpayers may receive a tax credit of 50% of money they use for subscriptions, memberships and donations to local news, up to a maximum of $250 per year.
  • The tax credits sunset after five years.

Who is eligible to take a tax credit?

  • Any business with less than 50 employees with eligible advertising spending
  • Any Colorado taxpayer with eligible purchases and donations

What local news organizations qualify?

  • Any local newspaper (including online newspapers) or local broadcaster (radio or television) — businesses and individuals decide which local outlets to support
  • Local newspapers and broadcasters must:
    • Primarily serve the needs of Colorado or a local region or community within Colorado
    • Employ at least one journalist who resides in Colorado and who regularly gathers, collects, photographs, writes or reports news or information that concerns local events or other matters of public interest
    • Be covered by media liability insurance
    • Disclose its ownership to the public
    • Not be a disqualified organization nor an organization that received more than 50% of its gross revenues from disqualified organizations.
  • Disqualified organizations are those organized as, or owned and controlled by, organizations authorized to engage in campaign activity (Section 527 groups and 501(c)(4) nonprofits.

WHY THE BILL IS NEEDED:

In short, this bill is good for small businesses, local economies, and healthy, thriving and informed communities.

This bill supports small businesses who have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a tax credit for advertising with local news media. Advertising through local news outlets will further help these small businesses reach larger audiences, bringing in more business and revenue. It also supports individuals who struggle to support the local news they need to stay informed.

While these credits are to small businesses and individuals, ultimately they support local news media, which are backbones of local communities. They keeping residents informed and connected to their community. Studies have shown that local news decreases corruptionreduces the cost of local governmentstrengthens democracy and returns many more dollars to the public than is spent. Local news is a crucial source of trusted information. Third-party studies have also shown that advertising in local news is one of the most effective forms of advertising, with an ROI much higher than social media. Despite all of these benefits, it is often overlooked in ad planning because large national platforms have come to dominate the advertising market. These tax credits allow small businesses and individual to support their local news outlets and reap many direct and indirect benefits.

WHY LOCAL NEWS MEDIA?

→ 85% of consumers agree that “Seeing a brand or product in news brands gives me more confidence that it’s right for me.”

→ Local news is effective. Almost 7 out of 10 readers take action after reading an advertisement in a print or digital newspaper.

→ Every month, more than 3.7 million active consumers – or 81% of Colorado adults – read local print or digital newspapers.

→ Newspaper advertising delivers the highest ROI, which is 20% more than search and 10% better than social.

Source: Colorado Market Study 2022, conducted by Coda Ventures; The Relevance Project

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THIS BILL

This bill can make a meaningful difference to small businesses, citizens and local news outlets, but we need your support to get it passed. The following are steps you can take that will have an impact, and most take no more than 5 minutes of your time.

  1. Sign this endorsement form for you and/or your organization. Time: 2 minutes. When: ASAP.
  2. Contact members of the House Business Affairs and Labor CommitteeTime: A little as 5 minutes. When: ASAP, before March 10.
    • Our spreadsheet lists all the information you need in one place. 
    • Your own wording is always best, but here is some suggested language to get you started: As a [ resident of Colorado and business owner — or whatever is appropriate; if you live in the representative’s district, be sure to mention that], I request that you support HB22-1121: Supporting Local News. The bill provides much-needed support at a crucial time as businesses and individuals are recovering from the pandemic. [I know it would help my business — or however you can personalize it.] The advertising credit will help small businesses reach new customers, help individuals get and support quality new sources, and help the local news outlets that support our communities and democracy itself. 
  3. Ask for support from your local Chamber of Commerce and any associations you are a part of. Time: Under 5 minutes. When: ASAP, ideally by Monday, March 7.
  4. Newsrooms and businesses: Contact your customers (newsrooms: especially your advertisers) and ask them to support the bill by signing the endorsement form and asking their associations to support the bill. Time: A couple of minutes per business. When: ASAP, ideally by Monday, March 7.
    • Your own wording is always best, but here is some suggested language to get you started: Thank you for all of the support you’ve shown to [the newspaper/my business and the community] over the years. As you may know, there’s a “Supporting Local News” bill working its way through the Colorado legislature. It would support us and many of your customers by offering tax credits for subscribers, and it would help both of us by providing a $2,500 tax credit to small businesses that advertise. If you agree that this would be helpful, would you consider expressing your support and encouraging the local Chamber of Commerce and any associations that you’re a member of to express their support? Here’s a simple form to lend your name and express your support. You can also read more about the bill here.
  5. [For newspapers] Run an editorial and/or an advertisement supporting the bill. Time: 5 minutes or more. When: The week of March 6.
    • Write your own editorial or run this editorial from CPA’s CEO. Feel free to edit/repurpose the CPA editorial as you see fit. Please share any editorials your run (including ours). We are keeping a running list.
    • We do not have an example ad. If you create one and are willing to share with others, please let us know.  Please share any ads you run. We are keeping a running list.
  6. Tweet your support, being sure to tag #coleg. Consider tagging individual committee members (especially the chair). You may see CPA’s twitter account for example tweets.  Time: Less than 5 minutes. When: Now through March 10.
  7. Submit written testimony to the committee. Time: A couple of minutes to submit plus time to write a formal letter. When: Before March 10. 

Link to submit or sign-up for testimony | Tips on testifying

SUPPORTERS

 The following have signed-on in support of the Supporting Local News bill:

  • Colorado Press Association
  • Colorado Broadcasters Association
  • Colorado Media Project
  • Anna Brugmann, Public Policy Associate , Rebuild Local News Coalition
  • Chartashia Miller, Owner, TT Coaching With Results
  • Amy Gillentine, Publisher/Executive Editor, Colorado Springs Business Journal and Pikes Peak Bulletin
  • Merle Baranczyk, Publisher, The Mountain Mail / The Chaffee County Times / The Flume / Herald Democrat
  • Albert Manzi, President and CEO, Prairie Mountain Publishing, LLP
  • Christopher Wood, Editor & Publisher, BizWest Media LLC
  • Linda Shapley, Publisher, Colorado Community Media
  • Julie Vossler-Henderson, Senior Editor, Boulder Daily Camera/ Prairie Mountain Media
  • Brian Porter, Publisher, Fort Morgan Times & Sterling Journal-Advocate
  • Roger Culver, Publisher, Forum Newspapers, Inc
  • Erin McIntyre, Co-publisher, Ouray County Plaindealer newspaper
  • Matt Lubich, co-owner, The Johnstown Breeze
  • Lori Kraus, Greenhorn Valley View, Greenhorn Valley View
  • Lesli Bangert, Publisher, The Johnstown Breeze
  • Karen Johnson, General Manager, El Paso County Advertiser and News Fountain Valley News
  • Catherine Thurston, Manager, SMH Publications LLC
  • Jeff Rice, Staff Writer, Prairie Mountain Media
  • Vickie Sandlin, Publisher, Julesburg Advocate/Akron News Reporter
  • Grant Houston, Editor/Publisher, Lake City Silver World Newspaper
  • Anthony Rayl, Editor, The Yuma Pioneer, Inc.
  • Douglas Claussen, Publisher & Editor, I-70 Publishing Company Inc.
  • Hannah Cary, Office Manager/Copy Editor, Herald Democrat
  • Rick Mauch, General Manager, Burlington Record
  • Sara Waite, Editor, Journal-Advocate
  • Emma Trainor, Publisher, Sky-Hi News
  • David Sabados, Publisher, The Denver North Star and The G.E.S. Gazette

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