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Legislative Memo

BILL:

S.7650 / A.11721

Support

SUBJECT:

Telecommunications Tax

 

DATE:

June 18, 2002

 

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., whose membership includes over 4,000 companies, associations and chambers of commerce, opposes the aforementioned legislation.

S.7650 / A.11721 would authorize Yates County to extend a surcharge of $1.00 per customer line per month located within the municipality for the operation of the county's emergency 911 system. Current law allows Yates County to impose a $0.35 surcharge per customer line per month for the maintenance of the municipalities 911 system.

The importance of maintaining a reliable, county-wide 911 system cannot be overstated. The telephone presents the most obvious and fastest way of summoning help in an emergency situation – and the 911 surcharge that is currently imposed on customers telephone bills funds the maintenance of the Yates County 911 system.

In an age where competition is being instituted in our energy and telecommunications industries with the intention of reducing high utility costs, we must be especially careful in approving new and added surcharges or taxes for costly programs. As vendors and businesses make choices about whether to locate or expand in New York, utility prices such as telecommunications services are given great consideration.

Finally, as we have stated in the past, imposing additional surcharges on Yates County consumers creates a troubling precedent should other municipalities choose to fund miscellaneous projects in this manner.

For the reasons articulated above, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully requests the legislature vote no.