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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.1652 (Brodsky)

Support

SUBJECT:

Discounted Telephone Service

 

DATE:

March 4, 2003

 

The Business Council of New York State, Inc., whose membership includes over 4,000 member companies, chambers of commerce, and trade associations, has reviewed the aforementioned legislation and would like to express its opposition to its enactment.

The proposed legislation would statutorily require telephone corporations to use information regarding federal and state assistance programs that qualify recipients for telephone lifeline service in offering such service.

Although, The Business Council believes this is a well intentioned proposal it is our belief that the basic requirements of this proposal already exist. The New York State Public Service Commission already has a program that requires telephone corporations to provide discount telephone service to income eligible consumers. This program provides deep discounts to those eligible on their monthly bills as well as on the installation of a phone jack.

We are also concerned about the expanded requirements this proposal outlines. The addition of those people eligible for the National School to Lunch Program, Child Health/Family Plus, State Earned Income Tax Credit or any "such additional federal or state assistance programs as designated by the commission" will all dramatically increase the number of those qualified to participate in the program. That leads to the question of who pays for those additional recipients to the program. Individual rate payors ? Commercial rate payors ? Governments ? Who ?