Legislation to Block Performance Tax Introduced

Members of Congress this week re-introduced legislation intended to halt any move toward a performance tax on local radio broadcasters. Sponsored by Reps. Michael Conaway (R-Texas) and Gene Green (D-Texas) in the House and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) in the Senate, the Local Radio Freedom Act (H.Con.Res.13/S.Con.Res.6) opposes the imposition of “any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge” on stations that play music over the air.

In a release accompanying the introduction of the bill, Rep. Conaway said, “Communities rely on local radio stations for news, weather updates, and other emergency alerts. A proposed ‘performance tax’ on local radio stations has the potential to put the future of these stations in jeopardy.”

NRB has long opposed a performance tax as a new and unwarranted burden on many Christian radio broadcasters. Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, thanked the sponsors of this legislation and said, “The Local Radio Freedom Act is a powerful statement that recognizes the importance of radio’s promotional value for music artists. It is greatly needed to keep the big record labels at bay in their ongoing crusade to impose a performance tax.”

Happily for broadcasters, the Local Radio Freedom Act starts out of the gate with the bipartisan support of 115 Representatives. NRB will continue to support this important bill and encourage additional co-sponsorship.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: January 27, 2017

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