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State Associations Push for Tax Certificate Bills

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Broadcasters are trying to capitalize on momentum in Congress to restore the minority tax certificate program.

Bills from Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) have been introduced that would do just that.

All 50 state broadcast associations have joined the National Association of Broadcasters to lobby Congress. NAB president Gordon Smith was a lead sponsor of tax certificate legislation while a senator from Oregon.

Also Read: NAB's Sutter Says Education, Access Are Keys to Ownership Diversity

Before it was eliminated in 1995 over concerns about abuse, the program provided tax breaks to media companies that sold broadcast properties to eligible minorities.

In a letter to House and Senate leadership, the state associations back swift passage of H.R.4871, the Expanding Broadcast Opportunities Act of 2021 introduced by Reps. Butterfield and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), and S.2456, the Broadcast VOICES Act introduced by Sens. Peters and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

"The tax certificate program will help us build a local media landscape that reflects our communities on the air, both in the control booth and boardroom," they told the legislators. "Additionally, the Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act of 2021 and the Broadcast VOICES Act will help with building a pipeline for a new generation of broadcast station owners that is inclusive of women, people of color and other underrepresented individuals."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.