News/Media Alliance Statement: Illinois State Lawmakers Approve $25 Million in Tax Credits for Journalists

The Illinois state legislature on Wednesday approved $25 million in tax credits over the next five years (or $5 million a year) that will support journalism in the state. The funds are intended for use by newsrooms to hire and retain journalists. The legislation is similar to that passed last month in New York, which provides $30 million over three years.

“We applaud the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Pritzker for recognizing the critical role and importance local journalism provides for their communities and taking action to provide needed support in the form of tax credits for journalists,” said News/Media Alliance President & CEO Danielle Coffey. “We thank the Governor and legislature for their commitment to sustaining quality journalism, which helps to keep their communities informed on important developments happening every day. This is a positive step forward and further demonstrates the broad recognition of the importance of a free press. Tax credits alone will not stop more newspapers from closing and the growth of news deserts across our country. There is still an urgent need – at the state and federal level – for legislation that would require the Big Tech platforms to fairly compensate news publishers for use of publishers’ valuable content on their platforms.”

The General Assembly also passed the Strengthening Community Media Act, which establishes a Journalism Student Scholarship Program to support students who agree to work in journalism in Illinois for at least two years.

Currently, creators of quality journalism are not adequately compensated for the use of their content – which takes a tremendous investment to produce – leading to layoffs of journalists and, in the worst cases, closure of news outlets completely.

Earlier this year, Illinois Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) introduced the Journalism Preservation Act (SB 3591), which last week received a favorable, bipartisan vote (10-3) by the Senate Executive Committee. The Journalism Preservation Act  is similar to the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA, AB 886), which was introduced by California Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) last year and passed out of the Assembly in June 2023 with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 55-6. As with the CJPA, the Illinois JPA would further promote the hiring of more journalists by requiring news publishers to invest 70 percent of the profits from the usage fee into journalism jobs.

The federal Journalism Competition & Preservation Act (JCPA, S. 1094) also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last June, receiving a favorable, bipartisan vote.

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