A Jacksonville legislator who has been opposing a $100 million subsidy to the newspaper industry in Florida has won his four-year fight.
Newspapers once had sources of revenue that were fairly reliable. They included classified ads, subscriptions, display advertising and legal notices.
Governments were required to post legal notices in local newspaper, and there are a lot of them.
This year, the Florida Legislature changed the rules to bring them in line with today’s technology. Legal notices now can be published online.
It makes sense. More people will see them. Newspaper sales of printed copies are shrinking rapidly. Nearly everyone has internet access.
Newspaper moguls, of course, are not pleased. Despite the fact that most of them continually disparage businesses that earn profits, most of them seem to want to earn profits.
State Rep. Jason Fischer was the sponsor of the bill.
He says the status quo has been a $100 million subsidy to the Florida newspaper industry.
“It shouldn’t even have been a controversial issue,” Fisher said.
State law mandates local government use newspaper to publish legal notices.
It was gravy, and a $100 million subsidy for the newspapers that attack the government every day, when it is controlled by Republicans.
Originally the bill would have required only online notices but liberal newspapers throughout Florida went berserk and it was amended to allow a choice between publishing online or in print.
Why any local government would vote to spend money for notices to be in print rather than publish them online for little or nothing is not clear.
Democrats tried to inject race into the issue, of course, saying that it would inhibit the ability of minorities to see public notices. This was based on the peculiar notion held by liberals that all minorities are poor. In fact, the poor would be better able to see notices online that to pay $90 a year or more for a newspaper subscription.
Furthermore, the print version is soon gone and only subscribers could see them anyway. The online notice remains available for viewing forever.