Cell Phone Subsidies and 911 Service
I have written before about the proposed new 911 tax on cellular phone bills. There is a great article in the Sikeston Standard-Democrat (link via Combest) about the latest meeting of the legislative task force considering how to improve 911 service in Missouri. In prior posts, I had worried that a statewide 911 fee/tax would not be used just to improve the location ability of 911 cell calls, but to add 911 service to the parts of Missouri that had never bothered to institute it in the first place at their own cost. Needless to say, I appear to have been justified in the concern (emphasis added):
As it is also proposed that 40 percent be diverted to help rural counties without 911 establish their service, that means his center would only get about 30 cents per cell phone ?minus 3 cents that would be deducted for processing, Wells said. He said that means it would take five cell phones to make up for a single land line.
It should absolutely be required that if this cellular tax passes, rural counties that have never established 911 service be forced to institute a local phone tax as well to pay for a portion of their new emergency service. They should not be allowed to make taxpayers statewide pay for something they should have paid for themselves decades ago. If the state does not make that a requirement, I’m going back to a beeper.