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Legislative Memo

BILL:

A.4967 (Brodsky)

Support

SUBJECT:

Discounted Telephone Service

 

DATE:

March 6, 2009

 

The proposed legislation would codify and expand Public Service Commission rules to require telecommunications companies to provide discount, or “lifeline” service to low-income New Yorkers.

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 Plus/Family Health Plus, State Earned Income Tax Credit or “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?

In summation, we believe the current requirements more than adequately cover the consumers who are income eligible currently.

For the above stated reasons the Business Council opposes A.4967 and requests it be rejected.