SACRAMENTO — A bill to restore a sales tax exemption for free newspapers was sent to Gov. Pete Wilson on Tuesday after the measure's supporters argued that the tax could drive some papers out of business.
"Many (of these papers) operate on a very marginal economic scale," said Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles). "This is an effort to make sure that those free newspapers stay alive."
The Senate approved the bill 30 to 3, sending it to the Republican governor, who has indicated a willingness to sign the measure. The Assembly passed the bill last month.
The legislation, by Assemblyman John Burton (D-San Francisco), would exempt free newspapers and periodicals from the sales and use tax.
A nearly duplicate measure, S-B89 by Sen. Quentin Kopp (I-San Francisco), also advanced Tuesday. The Assembly approved it 62 to 0 and returned it to the Senate for a final vote on Assembly amendments.
Newspapers and periodicals were exempt from the tax until July 15, when the exemption was eliminated as part of a budget-balancing plan approved by lawmakers and Wilson.