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When did newspapers start getting taxed?

Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at 10:39 AM

I am unaware of when legitimate newspapers began to get taxed, by what administration and why. Does anyone know? I say legitimate to separate those papers that are just advertising pieces or propaganda.

Didn't the First Amendment grant the right to freedom of speech without interference or constraint by the government. Taxes could sure be used to constrain something. Look at what they do with cigarette taxes.

"Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., introduced a bill last month that would allow newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits." - Boston Globe

"America's newspapers are struggling to survive -- and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved", ......, "there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," quoted by Senator John Kerry in the Boston Globe.

I can't believe I am quoting Senator John Kerry but he makes sense this time. Even though I think the national news has as certain leaning, it is still a basic right of freedom.

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Sales and/or income

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Apr 24, 2009, at 6:45 PM


Which tax - sales, property or income?

-- Posted by Grit on Fri, Apr 24, 2009, at 4:04 PM

Not to divert the good dialog, but I still am curious when newspapers started to get taxed. Anyone know?

-- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Apr 24, 2009, at 7:23 AM

Quietmike: This was from Bloomberg back in November:

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp., the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, plunged as much as 16 percent in New York trading after cutting its 2009 profit forecast because of shrinking ad sales at its Fox stations and newspapers.

I have been unable to find a more recent profit forecast. Looks like reduced ad sales have hit Murdoch also.

-- Posted by Grit on Thu, Apr 23, 2009, at 10:41 PM

There are hundreds of outlets for news today; including the Internet.

-- Posted by Grit

Exactly why the papers are losing money...lots of folks are tired of being force fed half truths and slant, now they have the ability to go elsewhere for their news. They are "voting" with their feet and pocketbook. Most business owners would see this as a warning that its time to rethink their business model.

Sources like the net and talk radio are capturing lots of these former customers because of the ability to "speak out" against any perceived slant.

As an aside the NY post which has some of the more conservative editors of any major paper is still profitable.

-- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 8:54 PM

Just to make sure the record is straight, I do not work for this or any newspaper, but I am concerned about the health our newspapers, especially local papers.

I grant you that deciding what is a legitimate newspaper would be a thorny issue, but my definition would be a paper that covers a majority of national and local events. While many national or large city papers have a bias in reporting, they cover other things than just politics.

I am referring to freedom of speech. If we try to discuss all issues, (right to bear arms, etc.) we will probably give justice to none.

There ARE hundreds of outlets for national and international news, but not local. How many of our neighbor's children, or local issues do you think we would see in these 'internet' outlets and what percentage of the community would read them?

Some internet companies are trying to provide local information in major metropolitan areas and I find them unimpressive. They glean from internet reports, police reports and blogs. You might get the same story five times and blogs are just as opinionated as any of the newspapers. Just like this one.

From what we learned from forming a gardening group, about 50% of our members get news of the meetings from this blog and the other 50% rarely get on or do not have computers. Without a newspaper, that would mean that 50% of our community would not know of news or issues, biased or not.

No doubt some companies are losing money because of poor or incorrect management decisions. Others are caught 'between a rock and a hard place' with the economy, but without newspapers we will all lose a basic venue for freedom of speech.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 8:05 PM

Quietmike stated "The newspapers are reaping the harvest of the bias they have been sowing for decades now, sorry if I'm not too sympathetic"

There are hundreds of outlets for news today; including the Internet. Even Rust Communications who owns this paper is not as profitable; believe me they do not sow so call liberal bias.

-- Posted by Grit on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 1:22 PM

Who is to determine which newspapers are "fair" and which are "propaganda"?

Where are these questions about taxes on other constitutionally guaranteed freedoms?

Sales and excise taxes on firearms and ammunition?

Brady bill instant check fee?

The newspapers are reaping the harvest of the bias they have been sowing for decades now, sorry if I'm not too sympathetic.

-- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Apr 22, 2009, at 1:02 PM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.