Senate Bill filed to help newsprint tariff issue; KPA asks McConnell, Paul for support

With thanks to Frankfort State Journal publisher Steve Stewart and general manager Catherine Boone, the KPA Executive Committee has written both Kentucky Senators, asking for their support of S. 2385, known as the “Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018.” The legislation was filed Monday by Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. Later that day, Senators Roy Blunt, Shelley Moore Capito, Deb Fischer, Johnny Iskason, Doug Jones, Claire McCaskill, Jerry Moran, Roger Wicker and Lindsey Graham joined as original co-sponsors.

KPA also sought News Media Alliance’s Paul Boyle for assistance in the letter.

The letter was mailed Thursday to both Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul. It was signed by President Peter Baniak, President-Elect Jay Nolan, Vice President Jeff Jobe, Treasurer Regina Catlett and KPA Past President Ryan Craig. It noted that of the five Executive Committee members, four of them own and publish nearly 20 weekly newspapers in the state.

For the most part, the letters were identical.

 

We write as members of the Executive Committee of the Kentucky Press Association, representing 174 newspapers published in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The Kentucky Press Association and its member newspapers stand united against the new import tariffs on uncoated groundwork paper — newsprint. The tariffs could be as high as 32 percent and would jeopardize many of our newspapers, especially the smaller, community weekly publications that are the backbone of towns across the Commonwealth.

These newspapers are already facing serious economic hardship and the new tariffs will force them to layoff more employees if not encourage them to close their doors for good. The tariffs will jeopardize the viability of the U.S. newsprint industry, as well, as its customer base by threatening and forcing to cut back on its paper consumption. Many of our newspapers have already experienced price increases and a disruption in supply since preliminary countervailing and antidumping duties were assessed earlier this year.

This committee speaks from experience on the hardship that will result if the tariffs are kept in place because four of us own and publish nearly 20 weekly newspapers in Kentucky.

On behalf of the Kentucky Press Association, the nation’s 10th oldest state press association, we are asking for your support of S. 2835, the “Protecting Rational Incentives in Newsprint Trade Act of 2018,” or “PRINT Act.” The legislation was filed Monday by Senators Susan Collins and Angus King. Senators Roy Blunt, Shelley Moore Capito, Deb Fischer, Johnny Iskason, Doug Jones, Claire McCaskill, Jerry Moran, Roger Wicker and Lindsey Graham have joined as original co-sponsors.

The PRINT Act would suspend the new tariffs imposed on newsprint imported from Canada. It would also require the U.S. Department of Commerce to review the economic health of the printing and publishing industries, and the impact that these tariffs will have on both industries.

The PRINT Act seeks a further examination of the harm that these tariffs will have on our nation’s economy, local Kentucky jobs and the distribution of news and information throughout communities in the Commonwealth.

If you are unable to support the legislation because of your leadership position in the Senate, we respectfully request that you do whatever you can to protect the Kentucky newspapers from these tariffs that are causing damage right now.

 

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