Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Even Advertising May Get a Levy

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Even Advertising May Get a Levy

Article excerpt

Taxing proposals plague papers

Several cash-strapped state governments are looking at taxing advertising to raise money, which has newspaper lobbyists scrambling to mount effective opposition. The lobbyists have beaten back ad-tax proposals in Connecticut and South Dakota, but the issue still lives in at least three other states: Arkansas, Michigan, and Nebraska.

"We're taking it seriously, and we're going to fight it with all our might," vowed Dennis Schick, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, part of a coalition fighting a bill to remove an ad-sales- tax exemption enjoyed by newspapers and other media.

A proposal in Nebraska could heap as many as five taxes on a single ad, a crushing load for small advertisers, said Allen Beerman, executive director of the Nebraska Press Association. "The only way goods or services are moved is through advertising," Beerman said. "Why would you have a recovery tax? And that's exactly what it is. It makes no economic sense."

Newspaper execs hope to convince lawmakers that, in addition to hurting advertisers and the businesses they support, an ad tax would be a revenue loser. Exhibit A is Florida, which in 1987 restored a media-tax exemption less than a year after repealing it. …

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