HB22-1121 Supporting Local Media Bill

Good for small businesses. Good for citizens. Good for democracy.

The Supporting Local Media bill, sponsored by Representative Lisa Cutter, provides tax credits directly to small businesses for advertising in local news outlets. The bill passed the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee, 8-3, and in the House Finance Committee, 6-5. Thank you to everyone who helped support this bill. It will be heard next in the House Appropriations Committee in early April.

What the bill does:

HB22-1121 provides a tax credit to small businesses for advertising in local news.

How the tax credits work
Businesses may receive a tax credit of 50% of money they spend on advertising in local news, up to a maximum of $2,500 per year. The tax credits sunset after five years.

Who is eligible to take a tax credit?
Any business with less than 50 employees with eligible advertising spending

What local news organizations qualify?

  • Any local newspaper (including online newspapers) or local broadcaster (radio or television) — businesses decide which local outlets to support
  • Local newspapers and broadcasters must:
    • Primarily serve the needs of Colorado or a local region or community within Colorado
    • Employ at least one journalist who resides in Colorado and who regularly gathers, collects, photographs, writes or reports news or information that concerns local events or other matters of public interest
    • Be covered by media liability insurance
    • Disclose its ownership to the public
    • Not be a disqualified organization nor an organization that received more than 50% of its gross revenues from disqualified organizations.
  • Disqualified organizations are those organized as, or owned and controlled by, organizations authorized to engage in campaign activity (Section 527 groups and 501(c)(4) nonprofits.
Note:  Earlier versions of the bill included tax credits for individuals who subscribe or donate to local news and a requirement that state government spend 50% of its advertising dollars on local news.

Why the bill is needed:

In short, this bill is good for small businesses, local economies, and healthy, thriving and informed communities.

This bill supports small businesses who have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a tax credit for advertising with local news media. Advertising through local news outlets will further help these small businesses reach larger audiences, bringing in more business and revenue.

While these credits are to small businesses, ultimately they support local news media, which are backbones of local communities. They keep residents informed and connected to their community. Studies have shown that local news decreases corruptionreduces the cost of local government, strengthens democracy and returns many more dollars to the public than is spent. Local news is a crucial source of trusted information. 

Third-party studies have also shown that advertising in local news is one of the most effective forms of advertising, with an ROI much higher than social media. Despite all of these benefits, it is often overlooked in ad planning because large national platforms have come to dominate the advertising market. These tax credits allow small businesses to support their local news outlets and reap many direct and indirect benefits.

Why local news media?

→ 85% of consumers agree that “Seeing a brand or product in news brands gives me more confidence that it’s right for me.”

→ Local news is effective. Almost 7 out of 10 readers take action after reading an advertisement in a print or digital newspaper.

→ Every month, more than 3.7 million active consumers – or 81% of Colorado adults – read local print or digital newspapers.

→ Newspaper advertising delivers the highest ROI, which is 20% more than search and 10% better than social.

Source: Colorado Market Study 2022, conducted by Coda Ventures; The Relevance Project

How you can support this bill

This bill can make a meaningful difference to small businesses, citizens and local news outlets, but we need your support to get it passed. There are two major steps you can take right now. While we don’t have a committee date, the real decisions that affect this bill’s fate are in the broader House. It’s in the spending priorities each caucus as a whole will set.
  1. Reach out to your legislator and House leadership. Ask them to make supporting local news and small businesses a priority and fund this bill. Time: A little as 5 minutes. When: ASAP over the next two weeks.
    • Our spreadsheet lists all the information you need in one place. 
    • Your own wording is always best, but here is some suggested language to get you started: As a [ resident of Colorado and business owner — or whatever is appropriate; if you live in the representative’s district, be sure to mention that], I request that you support HB22-1121: Supporting Local News. The bill provides much-needed support at a crucial time as businesses are recovering from the pandemic. [I know it would help my business — or however you can personalize it.] The advertising credit will help small businesses reach new customers and help the local news outlets that support our communities and democracy itself.  
  2. Ask for support from your local Chamber of Commerce and any associations you are a part of. Time: Under 5 minutes. When: ASAP over the next two weeks.
  3. [Later – For newspapers] Run an editorial and/or an advertisement supporting the bill. Time: 5 minutes or more. When:  TBD
    • We will provide an updated editorial from CPA’s CEO for you to edit or repurpose as you see fit. Please share any editorials your run (including ours). We are keeping a running list.


The following have signed-on in support of the Supporting Local News bill:
    • Colorado Press Association
    • Colorado Broadcasters Association
    • Colorado Media Project
    • Jice Johnson, CEO, Black Business Initiative
    • Anna Brugmann, Public Policy Associate , Rebuild Local News Coalition
    • Norma Paige, Vice President, 100 Men Who Cook, Inc.
    • Chartashia Miller, Owner, TT Coaching With Results
    • Aurangzaib Sharifi, Admin, Colorado Afghans
    • Vera Idam, Publisher/Executive Editor, Afrik Digest Magazine
    • Ibrahim Suliman, Editor , Afro Arab USA Newspaper
    • Amy Gillentine, Publisher/Executive Editor, Colorado Springs Business Journal and Pikes Peak Bulletin
    • Merle Baranczyk, Publisher, The Mountain Mail / The Chaffee County Times / The Flume / Herald Democrat
    • Albert Manzi, President and CEO, Prairie Mountain Publishing, LLP
    • Christopher Wood, Editor & Publisher, BizWest Media LLC
    • Linda Shapley, Publisher, Colorado Community Media
    • Julie Vossler-Henderson, Senior Editor, Boulder Daily Camera/ Prairie Mountain Media
    • Brian Porter, Publisher, Fort Morgan Times & Sterling Journal-Advocate
    • Roger Culver, Publisher, Forum Newspapers, Inc
    • Erin McIntyre, Co-publisher, Ouray County Plaindealer newspaper
    • Matt Lubich, co-owner, The Johnstown Breeze
    • Lori Kraus, Greenhorn Valley View, Greenhorn Valley View
    • Lesli Bangert, Publisher, The Johnstown Breeze
    • Karen Johnson, General Manager, El Paso County Advertiser and News Fountain Valley News
    • Catherine Thurston, Manager, SMH Publications LLC
    • Jeff Rice, Staff Writer, Prairie Mountain Media
    • Vickie Sandlin, Publisher, Julesburg Advocate/Akron News Reporter
    • Grant Houston, Editor/Publisher, Lake City Silver World Newspaper
    • Anthony Rayl, Editor, The Yuma Pioneer, Inc.
    • Douglas Claussen, Publisher & Editor, I-70 Publishing Company Inc.
    • Hannah Cary, Office Manager/Copy Editor, Herald Democrat
    • Rick Mauch, General Manager, Burlington Record
    • Sara Waite, Editor, Journal-Advocate
    • Emma Trainor, Publisher, Sky-Hi News
    • David Sabados, Publisher, The Denver North Star and The G.E.S. Gazette
    • Todd Chamberlin, Executive Director, The Sopris Sun
    • Becky Hemmann, Owner/Publisher, Berthoud Weekly Surveyor
    • Shay Johnson, Founder, CTN Media
    • Barbara Hardt, The Mountain-Ear, The Mountain-Ear
    • Chris Lopez, Founder, AlamosaCitizen.com
    • Jenna deJong
    • Susan Sajban
    • Susan Waller, Freelance journalist
    • Douglas Claussen, Publisher & Editor, I-70 Publishing
    • Kent Brooks, Owner/Publisher, Plainsman Herald
    • Anthony Puckett, Manager, The Florence Citizen
    • Marcus Hill, Reporter, Southeast Express
    • Christine Moser, VP of Advertising, The Denver Post
    • Matt Lubich, co-owner, The Johnstown Breeze
    • Terri Fleming, Freelance reporter, copy editor
    • Arlene Shovald, reporter
    • Jennifer Cancellier, Director of Events, Colorado Publishing Company