Mass. Bill Would Reimburse Subscribers to Local Newspapers With Tax Credit

A bill proposed by Rep. Jeffrey Turco would provide a tax credit reimbursing any Massachusetts resident up to $250 a year for subscribing to newspapers publishing original content about stories in their areas

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A bill being considered by Massachusetts lawmakers would provide a tax credit to reimburse the cost of local newspaper subscriptions.

If passed, the proposed law would reimburse any Massachusetts resident up to $250 a year. Qualifying newspapers would have to publish original local content about stories in their area, and at least one person in the newsroom would have to live in the area being covered.

"They're really a critical source of news for the people of the communities in getting a message out there, both pro and con," said Democratic Rep. Jeffrey Turco, who introduced the bill.

Local journalism professors tell NBC10 Boston that many newspapers permanently stopped the presses with the continued rise of the internet and social media over the past 15 years.

"There's tremendous interest in what they're doing, but the revenue source of that news is completely different from what it used to be because advertising isn't really as strong as it used to be," said Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University.

Staff at newspapers, like the Revere Journal, said the estimated increase in revenue from this bill would not make or break local newspapers, but would certainly help their bottom line.

"If people want a local newspaper in their community, this is one way to help," Kennedy said.

The next step is for the bill to be referred to a committee for review.

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