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House Subcomittee Passes Tax Certificate Legislation


U.S. Congress
U.S. Congress

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology has passed "Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act of 2019" that would direct the FCC to take certain actions to increase diversity of ownership in the broadcasting industry. Among them, the legislation would reinstate a tax certificate program to help women and minorities achieve station ownership. Data from 2014 shows that women owned approximately 7 percent of FM broadcast stations, and minorities owned less than 3 percent of stations.

In a statement, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith said, "Broadcasters cheer today's bipartisan advancement of Rep. Butterfield's legislation to reinstate the diversity tax certificate program and provide meaningful opportunities for more diverse ownership of broadcast stations. Broadcasters have long supported creative solutions that expand the diversity of voices at radio and television stations. NAB and our member stations remain committed to diversity in all forms and will continue to work with policymakers and stakeholders to advance this cause within both our employment and ownership ranks."

The tax certificate program would provide a tax incentive to those who sold their majority interest in a broadcast station to minorities. The program was previously implemented by the FCC in 1978 and increased minority ownership in broadcast stations by more than 550 percent before its repeal in 1995. The Expanding Broadcast Ownership Opportunities Act of 2019 would reinstate the program to 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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