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Bill would tax broadcasters to pay for campaigns

Vote icon in TV composite graphic 2A new bill in congress would tax each television station’s gross advertising 2% to pay for presidential campaigns. The proposal is sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Illinois), Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pennsylvania), Sen. Russ Feingold (D., Wisconsin) and Sen. Barack Obama (D., Illinois).

“This would cost [broadcasters] a ton of money, but they make a fortune on candidates,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told TV Week. “The broadcast industry does quite well. To ask them to play a part in this is quite reasonable.”

The proposal, which is in its earliest stages, would also change the current “lowest unit” rule – which requires broadcasters to sell spots at the lowest unit charge paid by any advertiser on the station at the time of the buy. The new rule would allow candidates to buy time twenty percent lower than the lowest rate, and allow a wider definition of which groups could buy time at the rate.

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