Do Local Newspapers Save Taxpayers Money?

Readers of the Raleigh News & Observer might not believe it, but despite its editorial support of higher taxes and government spending, its very presence may help keep spending and taxes lower than they could be. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Notre Dame have found a connection between the closure of a local newspaper and long-run increases in municipal borrowing costs, as well as more government employees, higher wages for those employees, and higher tax revenues (no examination of rates).  Liz Farmer at Governing found additional research that corroborated those conclusions, but quoted found others who suggested the research overstated the importance of local papers and the direction of causation. Clearly, though, a lack of oversight from outside groups, whether a newspaper or a think tank, gives government more opportunities to be inefficient and expensive.

 

Joseph Coletti / Senior Fellow

Joe Coletti is a senior fellow at the John Locke Foundation focused on fiscal policy issues. He previously headed the North Carolina Government Efficiency and Reform initiativ...

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