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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Olympia

Among the proposed tax breaks: one for newspapers

A labor lobbyist just emailed, challenging capitol reporters to write about a tax break for their own industry: newspapers. Fair enough.

House Bill 2585 would give newspaper companies a $946,000 tax break in this budget cycle, rising to $1.4 million annually next year, according to state budget analysts.

Under current law, publishers of newspapers, magazines and other periodicals pay a business tax rate of .484 percent. This applies to subscriptions, newsstand sales, ad income, etc.

Ad revenue for businesses who publish things but don't actually print them is taxed at a higher rate: 1.5 percent. When newspapers publish online content and sell ads for it -- yes, like this blog and those ads you see above and to the left -- they pay the higher 1.5 percent tax on that ad revenue.

HB 2585 would apply the lower rate to those ads, but only if the online version of the newspaper "shares content with the printed newspaper" and the two are prominently identified as being linked.

The bill's moving quickly, passing the House 85 to 5, and clearing the Senate Ways and Means Committee this morning.

Among the other tax breaks that have made it pretty far through the process this year: ones on waste vegetable oil, tidal power, aerospace suppliers, polysilicon manufacturers, green construction and beekeepers.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.