Will New Jersey soon stop forcing citizens to buy expensive legal notices in newspapers? Will taxpayers no longer be on the hook for funding media properties? It’s certainly moving in that direction….nationally too.
This week, NJ Gov. Chris Christie re-ignited the fight to stop taxpayer funding of newspapers. Christie, along with a bi-partisan group of legislators, want to remove mandatory funding of rarely read legal ads in print newspapers.
Why not allow NJ government agencies to publish legal notices on websites instead of expensive newspapers?
The proposed law would save taxpayers over $80 million per year. If passed, citizens will no longer be forced to place expensive legal ads in newspapers. To be sure, they can continue to do so if desired.
With fast declining newspaper circulation, publications like the Press of Atlantic City and the Philadelphia Inquirer are no longer the go-to place for sheriff’s sales, planning board notices, municipal budgets and other info.
Christie was quoted as saying: “It’s difficult to imagine how anyone can argue that posting a notice on the internet is less transparent than posting a notice on one day, in one newspaper that is circulated throughout only part of the state,” “Late last year, I publicly called for the New Jersey Press Association, or their member newspapers, to provide certified financial information to corroborate this claim. To date, we have not received any documentation from the Press Association or their member newspapers.”
On the national level, taxpayers subsidies for public-funded media could also face the chopping block. Each year, $470.7 million in U.S. taxpayer cash goes to fund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). This provides 15 percent of PBS television and 10 percent of NPR radio broadcasting funding. Cutting back taxpayer funding will not destroy these institutions. Most of their budget is made up of private subsidies.
- PBS’s Paula Kerger – $779,954 salary
- NPR’s Gary Knell – $756,575 salary
- CPB’s Patricia de Stacy Harrison – $434,364 salary