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Local legislator's effort to aid local journalism punted to 2025

Del. Alfonso Lopez had proposed tax credits for employers and advertisers
Once thriving, the environment for local journalism in some places has turned into a barren landscape of layoffs, downsizing and diminished coverage.

An effort by an Arlington legislator to aid the commonwealth’s struggling local-news industry will have to wait until 2025 for full consideration in Richmond.

Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington-Alexandria) for several years has floated the idea of taking two steps to help outlets that provide news in various formats (print, online, television and radio) in Virginia:

• Giving the owners of those outlets tax credits for employing journalists earning less than $50,000 a year.

• Providing tax credits for small businesses that advertise with such outlets.

The House Committee on Finance punted the measure – HB 961 – to the 2025 session.

If ultimately enacted, the cost to Virginia taxpayers would depend on how many firms took advantage of the tax credits. The bill caps total credits statewide at $5 million per year for the news organizations and $10 million for the advertisers.