NAHP AND NNPA Legislative Priorities for our Publishing Industry
On March 9-11, 2016 the National Association of Hispanic Publications and National Newspaper Publishers Association will convene for the first ever joint Legislative Summit in the nation’s capital. The gathering will provide opportunities to discuss issues relevant to publishers in attendance: Taxation of advertising, wage rates for part time employees, diversity in government procurement and more. As the representatives of ethnically diverse newspapers and publishers, the NAHP and NNPA are coming together to protect our economic interests and to ensure that we can continue to provide quality news, entertainment and information to our readers. Since the founding of our nation, newspapers have delivered the information that citizens need to be civically engaged and educated. As ethnic minorities grow in the electorate, we are proud to be the source of information they use before heading to the polls and we look forward to remaining a vital part of the democratic process.
In March 15th, 2006, then Senator John Kerry knowing that for nearly six years we had a policy in place under Executive Order (E.O.) 13170 which directed federal agencies to create greater opportunities for small disadvantaged small business owners to participate in federal procurement, Kerry sent a letter to Comptroller General U.S. Government Accountability Office requesting a report. Within the Executive Order (E.O.) 13170 Section 4 of the E.O. states, that says the federal government is supposed to be advertising in minority publications and on radio and television stations that reach minority audiences. Each department or agency that contracts with businesses to develop advertising for the department or agency or to broadcast Federal advertising shall take an aggressive role in ensuring substantial minority-owned entities participation, including 8(a), SDB, and MBE, in Federal advertising-related procurements.
NAHP and NNPA want to have a yearly total federal dollars report on advertising channeled to SDB’s and MBE’s to ensure it is meeting its responsibility to reach out to all sectors of the American economy and in keeping its commitment to minority entrepreneurs and a GAO on all federal dollars (civilian and military) spent on publications.
In June, the Department of Labor (DOL) proposed increasing the salaries test of the white collar exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) from its current threshold of $23,660 to $50,440 annually ̶ a 102 percent increase. If finalized without any changes, this would mean that many currently exempt employees would no longer be considered exempt, and therefore, would need to be paid overtime for more than 40- hours of work in a week if they make an annual salary of less than $50,440.
While the NAHP representing over 400 publications, NAA representing over 200 publications and Newspaper Association of America (NAA) represents 2,000 newspapers in the United States believes the salary threshold should be increased, a doubling of the current standard would add unsustainable costs on newspapers. We are requesting more reasonable increases as the Administration should not address a decade of inaction with a 102 percent increase in the salary threshold as many newspapers said they would be forced to make cuts to newsroom staff in order to accommodate the DOL’s proposal. Less journalistic resources already in critical mode at our minority newspapers means a reduced focus on local content, less digging, fewer stories, and less informed minority communities. More important the proposed rule disregards the impact on areas of the country with a lower cost of living. The proposed minimum salary threshold is nearly $10,000 higher than California’s overtime law and nearly $15,000 higher than New York. What works in New York and San Francisco won’t necessarily work for Salinas or Little Rock. The DOL should take into account regional differences just as the Federal government does with “locality adjustments” for salaries of employees in 33 regions around the country.
In February 6th, 2016 a letter to the FCC commissioner was sent addressing several concerns regarding original content, diversity inclusion and intellectual property. NAHP and NNPA publications have evolved into media platforms creating original content addressing our respective communities overlapping with now mainstream media outlets both on broadcast and internet.
The Commission is under congressional mandate to regulate the cable, satellite and broadcast industries. NAHP and NNPA in partnership with MMTC and the Concerned Organizations urges the Commission to consider the unintended consequences of your recent set top box proposal on diverse and independent programmers.
NAHP and NNPA in partnership with MMTC and the Concerned Organizations caution the Commission against moving forward on proposals that primarily benefit corporations that have stunningly poor diversity records in the areas of employment, ownership, and supplier diversity, and that have done a poor job of incorporating minority programming into their current offerings. We strongly recommend that the Commission pause its efforts due to the pending impacts of this proposal on the business models of diverse and independent programmers and content creators, and exposure of consumer data to edge providers without the privacy protections that apply to other video and content providers managing big data, particularly when third party companies continue to use this data for predatory, exclusionary, and piracy gains while failing to promote diversity and inclusion in their current business practices.
NAHP and NNPA have learned of a proposal being discussed on the House Ways and Means Committee that would limit the ability to deduct costs of advertising as an ordinary and necessary business expense. It proposed requiring businesses to spread out over 10 years the deduction for half of the cost of their advertising. Current law allows businesses to deduct these costs in the year they are incurred and for the past 100 years. Advertising continues to be the most important revenue stream to support newspaper journalism in local communities. The newspaper industry would face serious challenges if the tax treatment for advertising costs were reduced or eliminated.