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house Bill H.R. 6377

Should Community Newspapers Get Better Terms for Servicing Their Pension Plans?

Argument in favor

Community newspapers that have frozen their pension plans should have better terms available to them in fulfilling their financial obligations so that they can continue to operate and provide locally oriented news. This bipartisan, commonsense bill provides needed relief.

Sherry's Opinion
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09/22/2018
Community or privately owned newspapers are facing declining readership. They need help to cover the costs of pension plans.
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Argument opposed

While community newspapers fulfill an important role, the federal government shouldn’t allow them to choose an alternative funding system to service their pensions even if it means they go out of business or other industries have gone through a similar process.

Tooluser1's Opinion
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09/22/2018
Nope. Let them die. Journalism died a long time ago, it's time to pull rhe plug on the life support.
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What is House Bill H.R. 6377?

This bill — the Save Community Newspaper Act — would allow community newspapers to choose alternative minimum funding standards for the defined benefit pension plans they maintain, effectively reducing their contribute. Relief would include a 30-year period to amortize pension shortfalls (rather than the current 7-year period) and interest rates set on the U.S. Treasury yield curve rather than 8 percent. Eligible community newspapers would have to be privately-owned by residents of the state, family-owned for at least 30 years, a non-profit, held in a state trust, or a combination of the above. Eligible pension plans would have to be “frozen” — meaning they no longer accept new entrants.

Publicly-traded media companies or corporations that own newspapers that own newspapers in multiple states would be ineligible for relief.

Impact

Consumers of local news; community newspapers; and federal pension regulators.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 6377

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase revenues by $13 million from receipts of premium payments and reduce spending by $21 million over the 2019-2028 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced this bill to “provide targeted relief to community newspaper pension plans” as they struggle to fulfill their pension obligations amid decreased employment in the industry. At a committee markup for his bill, Paulsen said:

“During a time of sweeping industry consolidation and change where newspapers are bought by larger groups and online platforms are competing with traditional print, these organizations are committed to investing in the business and ushering the business model into the 21st century. By changing the pension funding mechanism, these newspapers will have the certainty they need to make payments to fund their plan.”

The newspaper industry has experienced challenges in recent years that have made fulfilling pension obligations difficult for some companies, as explained by the Minneapolis StarTribune:

“Newspaper companies face a challenge in generating enough money from current operations to keep up with pension obligations that accumulated when the industry employed more people. Total employment in the industry dropped from about 400,000 in 2008 to just under 175,000 in 2018, according to the News Media Alliance, which represents 2,000 U.S. news organizations.”

This legislation passed the House Ways and Means Committee on a voice vote and has the support of six bipartisan cosponsors, including four Republicans and two Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: iStock.com / Zerbor)

AKA

Save Community Newspaper Act of 2018

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 to provide alternative minimum funding rules for certain single-employer plans maintained by a community newspaper.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJuly 16th, 2018
    Nope. Let them die. Journalism died a long time ago, it's time to pull rhe plug on the life support.
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    Seriously folks. End the fricking tariffs and the "robbing Peter to pay Paul" B.S. can end. Politicians need to be left with the consequences of their stupidity. Not ask us to pay for it.
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    Community or privately owned newspapers are facing declining readership. They need help to cover the costs of pension plans.
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    The print journalism needs to be held accountable to their obligations, even if it means they have to become bankrupt. If the business cannot generate enough support to be sustainable then it should go out of business.
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    I am sorry but if you are failing as a media source, you are doing something wrong. But why should tax payers bail you out? It is your failure not ours. I still buy a weekly paper, but not the daily one. They just repeat news all week. Local news is far and few on the agenda. I also like to see both sides of political debate instead of nothing but Democrats.
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    Free trade. No tariffs No Republicans.
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    How about the mom and pop stores and ice cream parlors? Should not the tax payers guarantee everyone an income based upon someone else's ability to produce something of value that people want? Oh that would be some form of government controlled state. Hum Socialist maybe, Communist maybe, or how about dictator or plutocracy?
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