Repealing Mo. Newspaper Tax Exemptions “Not Retaliation”

Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-While he admits it was prompted by editorials critical of a plan to cut state aid for the blind, a Missouri lawmaker says his proposal to repeal tax breaks for newspapers, is not retaliation against a critical press.

Kansas City Republican Ryan Silvey tells KMOX, “I would say retaliation is probably a bit strong, but in reaction to is probably accurate.”

Silvey says that since papers have been calling for ending corporate welfare, it should start with them, “I’m not saying that we’re taking a stab against the media for a stand they took, we’re simply following their advice.”

He says this is not a case of government trying to bully the press, “One medium has a tax exemption to the exclusion of all others, and if we remove that it’s somehow an attack on freedom of the press? That’s just ridiculous.

“It’s not  retaliation because there are people on the radio who have not necessarily been supportive, there are people on the TV who have not necessarily been supportive and obviously we’re not proactively going after them. It’s not like we’re trying to impose a new tax on the media.”

The House budget proposal would take $28 million from medical services for nearly 3,000 blind Missourians and shift it to higher education. The revenue raised by revoking the exemptions for newspapers on things like paper and ink, would raise about $4 million dollars a year, which would go toward the aid for the blind program.

Publishers say the loss of the tax breaks would have a significant impact on them. Silvey says it’s not the taxpayers job to prop them up, and if newspapers can’t transform with the times, “They need to fall by the wayside as many industries have done before.”

Silvey’s bill passed out of the Tax Reform Committee committee on a 7-5 vote.


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