A proposal to help local journalism exist and transition in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic also offers tax relief to small businesses, residents and local newspapers.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is bipartisan legislation that will provide an assist, not a hand out, to key local stakeholders — citizens, business owners and journalists —that directly support local journalism. U.S. Reps Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Arizona) and Dan Newhouse (R-Washington) are the primary co-sponsors.

This legislation is well thought out, comprehensive and provides the bridge for journalism to achieve a stable footing in a digital reality. It will help newspapers deal with the impacts of COVID-19 ... and every provision of this bill sunsets in five years.

The Local Journalism Sustainability Act is designed to offer tax credits for subscribers of The Lufkin Daily News (or any other qualifying newspaper) of up to $250 per year. This would allow a subscriber to earn a tax credit for a subscription to this newspaper.

The act defines local newspapers as print and online publications that primarily produce content related to news and current events and which have a majority of their readership within the publication’s state of operation. The idea is to help individuals continue their access to local journalism during a time of economic difficulty.

The act also offers small businesses, those with less than 1,000 employees, a tax credit to cover up to $5,000 of advertising costs in the first year and $2,500 in the following four years. This provides an incentive for small-to-medium sized businesses to advertise with their local paper.

Finally, the act will offer a payroll credit of up to $25,000 the first year and $2,500 in the subsequent years to employ and adequately compensate local journalists.

Local journalism is an important element of American society — and one we believe contributes to a better nation through the sharing of facts, opinions and inviting civil conversations.

The LDN has been the leading news-gathering organization in Lufkin and Angelina County for more than a century. We’ve been the go-to source for stories and information about municipal governments, crime, school and community events, sports and breaking news.

We serve as a conduit between the government and the people, providing information as routine as a calendar of events or as important as how governmental entities are spending your tax money. In the process, we provide the public with information to help them make informed decisions.

Producing quality local news content is neither free nor inexpensive. And a good community newspaper’s health is generally a direct reflection of a local economy, according to Keven Todd, president and publisher of The Lufkin Daily News. Our employees get paid like the employees of every other small business in town. And they live, shop and worship here, just like all those employees of all those other small businesses.

Our hope is your support — the action of reaching out to Louie Gohmert, our U.S. representative — will allow us to continue to serve this community for years to come.

Gohmert’s address in Washington, D.C., is 2267 Rayburn HOB, Washington, D.C. 20515. The phone number is (202) 225-3035 and his email address is louie.gohmert@mail.house.gov.

His Lufkin office is at 300 E. Shepherd Ave., No. 210, Lufkin, 75901. The phone number is 632-3180.