Limited Taxation
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CLT Update
Friday, July 9, 1999

Wouldn't you think that the one thing everybody agrees is a legitimate role for government to play -- public safety --  could be provided by a government with a $20 billion state budget, a billion-dollar-plus "rainy day" fund, and hundreds upon hundreds of millions of surplus revenue dollars from the over-taxation it's struggling to keep from returning to us taxpayers?

Not in Taxachusetts!

Nope, here in the People's Republic the Bacon Hill Cabal wants to charge you an additional tax (deceptively disguised as a "fee") if you call for emergency assistance.

Of course if an intruder breaks into your home, you can run down to the police department and ask for help, or ... if a fire breaks out, you can drive to the nearest station house and ask the firefighters to respond, or ... if a family member collapses on the living room floor, you can drive him to the hospital yourself ... all without needing to use E-911, imposing by phone on the public safety services you thought you had paid for with your taxes.

But if you want to be able to phone in an emergency and request immediate assistance ... well, under a legislative proposal now under consideration, that'll cost you extra!

You'll pay whether or not you ever need to make one of those calls, and you'll pay the tax on each phone line in your home.

So if you ever do have an emergency, make sure to make calls from every phone in your home -- after all, if this rapacious Legislature has its way with us again, you'll be paying for it.

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Chip Ford

Barbara's Radio Commentary
WESX -- Friday, July 9, 1999

Two key legislators on Beacon Hill want a new tax, and this one does beat all! Senator Mike Morrissey and Rep. Dan Bosley, chairmen of the Government Regulations Committee, want to tax you for the privilege of calling the cops!

Their proposal would add an annual charge to your telephone bill to pay for Enhanced 911, the line you use to call for emergency police, fire, and ambulance assistance.

Since the primary purpose of government is public safety, the new tax would be a tax on the one thing you should get for the many taxes you already pay, without having to pay an additional tax to access. After all, there's no point in having police and fire departments if you can't call them on the phone when you need them, is there ...?

This is Barbara Anderson.

The Boston Globe
Friday, July 9, 1999

Tax-cut advocate slams proposal to add telephone fee;
Barbara Anderson criticizes plan to charge for 911 calls

By Peter J. Howe

Globe Staff

A proposal being developed in the Massachusetts Legislature to add a $2-a-year fee on every Bay State telephone line to pay for emergency 911 calls has drawn the wrath of a key tax-cut advocate who carries influence with Governor Paul Cellucci.

Barbara Anderson of Citizens for Limited Taxation and Government yesterday slammed the still-evolving proposal as "a telephone tax" and said she will urge Cellucci and legislators to oppose it.

"It is one of the most outrageous things I have ever heard of, and I have heard plenty of outrageous things," Anderson said.

"The whole point of having a police department is so you can call them up. This would be a fee on the one thing we're getting from the government for the taxes we're paying."

As soon as next week, the Legislature's Government Regulations Committee is expected to take up a bill that would close a $25 million deficit in the fund that pays for the statewide enhanced 911 system, which shows emergency dispatchers the address from which a call is being made.

The fund is currently supported largely by the 34-cents-a-call charge on Bell Atlantic customers who make more than 10 calls to 411 directory assistance monthly.

Both committee chairmen -- Senator Michael W. Morrissey, a North Quincy Democrat, and Representative Daniel E. Bosley, a North Adams Democrat -- said as a matter of equity they like the idea of detaching 911 funding from 411 and having everyone with a phone pay for the system through a yearly $2-a-line fee.

Cellucci's chief spokeswoman, Ilene Hoffer, said administration officials "want to look carefully at anything that would pass on costs to a broad base of consumers."

But she said the governor had no comment on the $2 fee, saying, "We will wait until a piece of legislation arrives on our desk."

The emergency 911 bill being drafted by Bosley and Morrissey will likely also allow Bell Atlantic to begin offering nationwide directory assistance to Massachusetts callers who dial 411. Massachusetts is the only state served by Bell Atlantic that does not have the service.

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