A window of opportunity has at last opened for federal aid to support local journalism

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As the $3.5 trillion federal spending bill slowly makes its way through the House and Senate budget reconciliation process, tucked inside is as much as $1 billion to help local journalism.

Specifically, lawmakers have picked up on one of three provisions of the proposed Local Journalism Sustainability Act — a payroll tax credit for journalists employed by local newspapers, digital-only sites or broadcast outlets. The government would subsidize half of salaries up to $50,000 the first year and 30% for four subsequent years.

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