Build Back Better: Real Dollars for Media, Not Tax Credits

Build Back Better: Real Dollars for Media, Not Tax Credits

By Dr. John E. Warren

When the Build Back Better Act passed the House of Representatives last year, there was some excitement about a provision which included a payroll tax credit for local news organizations. It was stated that this Act, if passed by the Senate and becomes law, would provide $1.7 billion for local media outlets. Researchers at the University of North Carolina Hussman School of Journalism found that there are at least 200 counties in the U.S. that lack a local newspaper and the Pew Research Center reported a decline of 71,000 journalism positions in 2008 to 31,000 in 2020, a 57 percent drop.

While the decline in local papers is real and disturbing, those pushing for a payroll tax credit for journalists miss the point. The legislation and the discussion misses a very important point concerning small community newspapers, in general, and Black newspapers, now in their 195th year, in particular.

Businesses operating at a loss do not need a tax credit. Businesses operating at a loss have a hard time making payrolls and as a result, most small newspapers hire journalists as independent contractors because they can’t afford payroll taxes and benefits. The issue is not a tax credit for the journalist, its sufficient revenues for the newspapers as a business that will allow them to hire journalists either on payroll or as independent contractors

If the President and the Congress really want to help small newspapers, which appear to have declined from 5,000 community newspapers a few decades ago to less than 2,000 today, there is a means of addressing this issue as a win/win for all those concerned. The solution is for the President to issue an Executive Order requiring that all bids for government contracts under Build Back Better must not only adhere to Title V of the U.S. Code’s Administrative Procedures Act that requires the publication of  “Notice” under due process, but also that such notices be inclusively published in local newspapers as a mandate for local opportunity in the solicitation of responses to Request for Proposals {RFP). The publication of such notices in local newspapers would bring both notice and dollars to the communities of Main Street. Those dollars would help local newspapers hire journalists in a way far more meaningful than tax credits to people who can’t afford payrolls.

The President could make such an Executive Order so inclusive that the benefit would be far reaching and felt immediately. Perhaps the Vice President, who is from California and familiar with the Black Press in particular, and Mr. Sedgwick Richmond, a Domestic Policy Advisor to the President from New Orleans, might be helpful in making the case for such an Executive Order.

Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top