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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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March 10, 2008 4:16 PM

In lean budget year, newspapers look for tax cut

Posted by David Postman

Washington newspapers are looking for a $1 million tax break this year - a tax break that’d be worth nearly $3 million to the industry in the next full, two-year budget. The bill to cut taxes on money made from online ad sales passed the House 85-5 and awaits a vote in the Senate.

House Bill 2585, sponsored by Rep. (and treasurer candidate) Jim McIntire, D-Seattle, would change the definition of a newspaper to include online publication. That would mean newspapers would pay the Business and Occupation tax rate of 0.484 percent for printing and publishing rather than the 1.5 percent rate charged on income made from other services. The existing tax scheme - with the existing tax break on ad sales - became law before newspapers were published online as well as on paper.

For the coming year, the tax cut would mean a loss of $946,000 in state revenue, according to legislative committee estimates, and $2.7 million for the next two-year budget. The bill was amended by the Senate Ways and Means Committee to sunset after three years.

The Department of Revenue is “concerned” about the bill. That’s a semi-official term meaning they haven’t taken a position for or against it. But the Department doesn’t sound too supportive based on this description of the concerns.

Allied Daily Newspapers, the newspaper lobbying group, has been making the case for the tax cut. Meanwhile, newspaper editorial boards have been urging lawmakers to save money this year to prepare for lean budget times ahead.

The Times said the state could set aside $1 billion-plus and that lawmakers should cut spending until they have reached that goal.” And the P-I, which is in a joint operating agreement with The Times, has said lawmakers have to prepare for hard choices, “even if that means holding back on some of the new spending being discussed ..."

Of course, if this $1 million tax break is necessary to get my expense account paid, this item was posted without my knowledge, I’m on vacation, I was quoted out of context, bloggers aren’t real journalists anyhow, and this post will self-destruct in five seconds.

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Posted by Hinton

7:58 PM, Mar 10, 2008

Not only no, but hell no. You people are no more deserving of a tax break than any other business. I had to pay 1.5%, you clowns need to suck it up and pay it as well. After all, YOU people have been advocating for programs, like the gas tax increase, that have cost the rest of us billions.

You don't deserve a break. Hopefully, you won't get one.

Posted by Chad (The Left) Shue

8:23 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Nicely done David

Posted by Harry

10:42 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Thank you for pointing out the reality that once again, everybody wants something but everybody wants money saved too.

Posted by biblebob

10:46 AM, Mar 11, 2008

This is an outrage and I'm sending thousand of e-mails about this to everyone on my Obama is a Muslim list.
For one thing, we don't even need newspapers anymore because everyone can watch the TRUTH on television if its FOX or CBN.
And these reporters work in big fancy offices and take big fancy vacations and probably eat at big fancy restaurants like Applebees and hate peole like Hucklebees who can't Applebees TIME AFTER TIME!!!
Taxes arn't in the bible or the constipation of america either. So I say NO to the newspaper jews, negros, homos and Applebees rich people, and YES to Huckelbees.

Posted by inthemiddle

11:15 AM, Mar 11, 2008

Why should newspapers be given a break when there are many businesses that deserve a break as much or more than a newspaper? If the papers cannot break even or turn a buck, why shrug off their ineptness off onto us?

And that is how it'll work, because we all know Olympia will simply find the money elsewhere. God forbid they would cut spending !!!

Isn't this simply corporate welfare?

While I'm at it, I'm not having too good a year either, why don't you guys in Olympia give me a tax break?

Posted by YIKES

2:49 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Boy, I'm sure this bill will really help Jim McIntire (D-Seattle) in his bid for Treasurer!
Do you suppose he expects the newspapers to endorse him for carrying their water??
Do ya think??
Nice political move Jim.
Who else is supporting this Bill??
Vote them out of office too.
The problem with Jim's scheme is the only group people hate more than Newspapers are Pedophiles.

Posted by Dean

4:04 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Applebee's is a fancy restaurant??

Posted by jeff

4:27 PM, Mar 11, 2008

The news from the papers is only used for kideling for our fire place. You should pay the state more than any taxpayer as you never report the news you either make it or speculate.
I plan on contacting Olympia to make sure my Reps.
Vote NO!
Your paper is best viewed as comics.

Posted by biblebob

9:37 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Yes Applebees is for rich people who like french foods like the cordon blues and souffles and liberal drinks like wine TIME AFTER TIME! The Hucklebees hate Applebees because Hucklebees think Applebees are not for Hucklebees so YES Applebees is not for Hucklebees and that's why Applebees are fancy liberal restaurants and why God wants Hucklebee to be president like it says in the Bible. So of I am for the new tax on newspapers.

YOU DECIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by JimD

11:01 PM, Mar 11, 2008

The Seattle P.I., which FOX's Bill O'Reilly has branded "The WORST newspaper in the country bar none", actually said lawmakers have to prepare for hard choices, "even if that means holding back on some of the new spending being discussed."???
I find THAT hard to believe.

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