Thursday, December 18, 2008

Funding a Special Election Could Help Save Newspaper Industry

CapitolFax points out today that the Chicago Sun-Times "adds its voice to the growing chorus calling for a special election."

As even the Sun-Times points out, a special election comes with a hefty price tag for taxpayers, estimated at $40 to $50 million. Lawmakers would either have to raise taxes or cut state services at a time when we already have a multi-billion dollar deficit.

My solution? Since they want a special election, newspapers should drop their opposition to closing the sales tax loophole on printer's ink, a $40 million per year taxpayer giveaway to the newspaper industry. That way we can pay for the special election without raising taxes on working families or cutting the services they depend on.


There's more to this story than just good government advocacy -- a special election could help stimulate the newspaper industry.

As the Sun-Times points out, Democrats have dropped plans for a special election because it would create the possibility of a Republican winning the seat, instead of a Democratic appointment. Frankly, Democrats have only themselves to blame -- Dick Durbin in particular -- for being so eager to get on record and in front of the camera without thinking through the consequences of a special election.

But the upside for the newspaper industry -- and a reason for them to support closing the tax loophole - is that a special election is that the national campaign committees for both Democrats and Republicans will end up spending tens of millions of dollars in advertising in Illinois, much of it going right back into the pockets of the very same papers calling for a special election.

I'm not saying that the bankrupted newspaper industry is editorializing out of self-interest,
but i do think its in the best interests of their lobbying arm to repeal the tax loophole to fund a special election.

Despite the Democratic tilt of the state, a number of factors could make a special election the single most expensive Senate race in U.S. history. Those factors include the governor's troubles (which make the race competitive), the lack of competition for dollars because it is the sole federal election, the opportunity to tarnish Obama's image, the national interest in the race, and the fact that Chicago is the third-largest media market in the country.

How much money are we talking about here? Well, recent spending in the Franken-Coleman U.S. Senate race exceeded $60 million, when third party spending is factored in.

This special election could easily reach $75 million. Hope you're all ready for more campaign ads!!

2 comments:

Anonymous,  5:26 PM  

Check out YDD, shaking down newspapers for writing editorials he doesn't like!

Billy Dennis 6:03 PM  

$40 million a year in tax incentives? THAT is the shakedown.

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