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New Tax Incentive Bill for Minority Broadcasters Draws Praise From NAB

Similar legislation was repealed in 1995

Democratic lawmakers have introduced a bill to provide a tax incentive to those who sell a majority interest in a radio or TV station to underrepresented broadcasters. The National Association of Broadcasters has long been on record as favoring such a move.

The Broadcast Varied Ownership Incentives for Community Expanded Service (VOICES) Act would reestablish a diversity tax certificate program to incentivize capital investment in women and minority-owned stations, as well as investment in the sale of stations to women and minority purchasers, throughout the broadcast industry.

Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat from Nevada, introduced the act in the House, with Sen. Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, introducing the legislation in the Senate.

Similar legislation was in existence from 1978 to 1995 called the Minority Tax Certificate program. During that time, TV and radio broadcast station ownership by people of color increased by more than 550%, NAB wrote in a policy statement.

In response to the introduction of the Broadcast VOICES Act, NAB President and CEO Curtis LeGeyt shared the following statement:

“Reinstating the diversity tax certificate program is a meaningful step to level the playing field and amplify underrepresented voices in media. NAB has long been committed to access to capital initiatives that expand radio and television station ownership opportunities, particularly for women and people of color. A tax incentive program is a proven solution that significantly diversified the ranks of broadcast owners over its nearly two decades of existence.”

The association, in its comments, urges swift passage of the bill.

In 2021, broadcast associations from all 50 states, along with the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, sent a joint letter asking Congress to support and pass two new diversity tax certificate programs, including the Broadcast VOICES Act. In their letter, the groups said there is a lack of diverse ownership in the broadcast industry due primarily to lack of access to capital.

When the NAB laid out its top policy priorities for the 117th Congress in 2022, it said “reinstating the Tax Certificate Program at the FCC would encourage investment in broadcast station ownership for women and people of color and dramatically help underrepresented voices realize their dreams of radio and television station ownership.”

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