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Governor Christie: NJ Newspapers’ Hidden Revenue is Obstructing Direct Property Tax Relief

Bergen record Newspaper-vending-machine2

file photo by Boyd Loving

February 24, 2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton, NJ – A month since the New Jersey Press Association promised, but failed, to provide the public and the Legislature with the revenue totals their members receive from the publication of legal notices, the Governor’s Office today released additional revenue information from its own review that further debunks the multibillion-dollar print newspaper industry’s grossly false and misleading claims.

In an effort to lobby for media titans against overdue property tax-cutting reform bill S-2855/A-4429, which permits legal notices to be published online and has been supported by bipartisan legislators for 16 years, NJPA has claimed their member newspapers take $20 million per year from taxpayers. NJPA continues to provide no evidence to support this claim.  Meanwhile, the Governor’s Office has released ample data, such as the attached, publicizing the newspapers’ real taxpayer rake, which is well over $20 million and pushing upwards of $80 million per year.

“The billionaires and millionaires running print newspapers in New Jersey continue to provide false rhetoric that they collect only $20 million in annual tax dollars to publish legal notices that should instead be freely posted online, and have yet to fulfill their promise to release real financial information, conceding that their $20 million claims were a lie to their employees, legislators, readers and taxpayers,” Governor Christie said. “These newspaper operators are so conflicted on this issue that despite my office providing sets of data proving their claims are false, there have been no articles or editorials reflecting that reality.”

Data backing the $80 million and the Star Ledger’s $16.6 million in 2016 legal notices revenue has been public since January 24. It has been provided to and remains unpublished by the following newspapers:

The Record
NJ Advance Media
The Associated Press
NJ Spotlight
New Jersey Herald

In the face of this silence, the Governor’s Office has continued its painstaking review with the Gannett newspapers.  To date, the Office has reviewed the published 2016 legal notices for three daily newspapers and the revenue generated from just these three newspapers exceeds $20 million:

2016 Revenue Totals

•    Star-Ledger – $16,614,923.68
•    Courier Post – $2,096,997.42
•    Asbury Park Press – $1,989,089.53

Total for 3 Daily Newspapers – $20,701,010.63

With 13 daily papers and dozens of weekly papers left to tabulate, the 2016 legal notices in these three papers alone prove the NJPA’s $20 million per year claim is an outright falsehood.