Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tax the Press and you get

ASHLAND — Representatives from newspapers including the Ashland Daily Tidings, Mail Tribune, the Oregonian, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal said they are pulling most of their newspaper boxes from downtown Ashland in response to a new $25 annual fee per box being imposed by the city government.

Until this month, newspaper boxes could sit on public sidewalks for free.

Newspaper distributors said it doesn't make financial sense to pay to have their boxes sprinkled around downtown. Some distributors said they will pay the $25 fee to keep a few boxes where newspaper sales can justify the cost, such as near the Mix dessert shop and Geppetto's Restaurant.

The city of Ashland designated one free zone for newspaper boxes in front of Starbucks coffee shop, near the Chamber of Commerce.

A host of free publications also are being charged a $25 annual fee to occupy one shelf space inside new multi-publication racks. The racks were donated to the city by the Daily Tidings and the Mail Tribune and were refurbished by the city.

Peter Quince, local distributor of the New York Times and USA Today, said he has already pulled most of his newspaper boxes from downtown. Depending on its location, he said a newspaper box earns about $5 to $30 per month in profit.