Do you rely on your local newspaper to keep up with how your tax dollars are being spent? If so, tell your congressman you don’t want a new tariff to put the paper out of business. 

A new study reveals that communities that lose their newspapers see an alarming increase in the cost of local government because there’s no watchdog reporting on how your hard-earned money is spent. 

A new “temporary” tariff on Canadian newsprint — the paper used to print 75 percent of American newspaper pages — poses a dire threat if it becomes permanent. Simply put, your hometown paper can’t exist if it costs more to print than it earns in revenue. The accompanying article by David Chavern, president of the News Media Alliance, details this dangerous situation. 

Under the arcane and almost unfathomable rules of U.S. trade policy, the newspaper industry isn’t allowed to formally make its case to the administration, which will decide soon whether to make the tariff permanent. Members of Congress, on the other hand, may submit official comments to be considered. Very few have done that. 

The Texas newspaper industry has urged Texas’ 36 House members and both members of the Senate to send letters opposing the tariff to the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission. So far, only four — Rep. Bill Flores, R-Bryan; Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler; Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio; and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Amarillo — have written letters, and Sen. John Cornyn has verbally said he opposes the tariff. Perhaps the others don't think taxpayers care. 

It’s time for your elected members of Congress to hear from you — the taxpayer AND voter. Call. Write. 

Tell them you oppose the tariff because you want your local newspaper to serve as a watchdog. Urge them take up this fight … not on newspapers’ behalf, but on yours. And tell them you’ll be watching to see what they do.

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