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End the Newspaper Subsidy

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Cities, counties, school districts, and special districts spend millions every year buying advertising space in newspapers to post public notices, even though this information could be posted online for free. This antiquated practice means that Texas taxpayers end up getting soaked twice to get their public information, first for the ad space and then again for a copy of the newspaper. 

A newly filed bill could soon change all that however.

House Bill 335, filed by State Representative Jonathan Strickland, would allow a local governmental body to post its public notices on its website thereby satisfying any public notice requirements. The proposal, according to Rep. Strickland, is long overdue. 

“The law that requires public notices to be printed in a newspaper made sense back in the horse and buggy days when newspapers were the only form of mass communication and most people subscribed to a newspaper,” [Rep.] Stickland said. “But in the 21st Century, that requirement amounts to nothing but a taxpayer subsidy for the companies that own newspapers and it needs to go the way of the horse and buggy.” 

This kind of commonsense legislation is attracting the support of many taxpayers around the state, but, perhaps not surprisingly, it’s also getting the seal of approval from many fiscally prudent local officials. 

“Arlington mayor Robert Cluck expressed support for HB 335, stating, ‘Arlington, like many cities, is watching every penny and finding cheaper and more effective ways to conduct business. By posting notices on-line instead of in the newspaper, we believe we can save taxpayers money while reaching a broader audience.’”

“Likewise, Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced his support for the bill, saying, ‘Tarrant County is always looking for ways to create efficiencies and value for our taxpayers. If HB 335 becomes law, it could save Tarrant County taxpayers more than $50,000 per year. I commend Rep. Stickland for authoring this bill and strongly support its passage.’”