ITA Improves E911 Bill - Moratorium On Alt. Surcharge
SF 2332 passed a subcommittee and the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the full chamber this week. This time, the bill had a major improvement – it calls for a moratorium on raising E911 surcharges on landline customers up to $2.50.
The bill also takes surcharges to pre-paid wireless services at the retail level. It also authorizes funding to be distributed to PSAPs through the wireless carrier cost recovery fund. The legislation also includes language to form a task force to study the E911 funding issue, including the telecommunications surcharge inequities. ITA was able to gain language that puts a moratorium on alternative surcharges until next year after the completion of the work of the task force.
The Senate must concur with the House's changes to the bill - likely the week of April 23.
Progress on Property Tax Reform
In conversations ITA Director of Government Relations Joe Hrdlicka has held with Senate and House leadership along with representatives of the Governor's office, a plan for property tax reform is still being developed. "My sense is that the conversations are real," he says. "It's likely to be the last deal negotiated."
Both the Governor's Chief of Staff Jeff Boeynk and Senator Gronstal acknowledged in the media this week that a plan for a legislative proposal was in the works. Hrdlicka reports that in dialogue he's had, the telco piece continues to be a part of the overall plan that will be agreed to. "In all of the conversations I have had with leadership, there appears to be strong agreement for the plan that was included as a part of the commercial property tax reform bill that passed the House," he said. This language was included in the telco property tax relief language ITA worked to attach to HF 2274. Click here to see the latest comments from leadership in an article that appeared in the Des Moines Register this morning.
While news has been positive to this point, we are still a long way from finishing the race.
ITA members should contact their senators now regarding the importance of this legislation if they haven't done so. Attending legislative forums is a good opportunity to raise this issue in front of your legislators. Here are links to upcoming legislative forums:
Iowa House Republicans
Iowa House and Senate Democrats
Iowa Senate Republicans
Click here to see a list of the bills in which ITA is engaged this session.
Check Out Photos From ITA Day
Click here to see photos from ITA Day At The Capitol.
2012 ITA Legislative Positions
Broadband For All Iowans – The critical infrastructure broadband provides in our digital world is taken for granted. We expect our wireless devices to work or our Internet to work without fail. None of these things happen in Iowa's rural communities without the support of broadband service deployed by independent telephone companies.
- Demonstrating the increasing role of broadband network service in people's lives, an international workforce study announced in September by Cisco Systems shows one in three college students and young professionals (33%) believes the Internet is a fundamental resource for the human race – as important as air, water, food and shelter.
- Combined, four of every five college students and young employees believe the Internet is vitally important as part of their daily life's sustenance in the same study. More than half of the respondents (55% of college students and 62% of employees) said they could not live without the Internet and cite it as an "integral part of their lives.”
- Video applications are placing incredible demands on the Internet. Cisco Systems estimates the following: Internet video is now 40 percent of consumer Internet traffic, and will reach 62 percent by the end of 2015. Broadband deployment creates jobs. It's a capital intensive endeavor from the contractors hired to deploy fiber through to the staff hired to manage these networks. Consider the following statistics:
- Since 2008, the U.S. Internet Industry Association (USIIA) estimates broadband providers have invested over $250 billion to expand broadband jobs.
- USIIA estimates broadband investment created 475,000 jobs in 2009 and that expected capital investment from broadband over next few years would generate approximately 509,000 jobs.
- ConnectedNation estimates a creation of 2.4 million jobs with a seven percent increase in broadband adoption. Connect Iowa estimates a seven percentage point increase in broadband utilization in Iowa could result in an annual economic boost of $1.2 billion, including 26,000 jobs saved or created.
- Connect Iowa estimates 16% of employed adult Iowans use the Internet to telework instead of commuting – that translates into approximately 230,000 Iowans who go "online to work”
Equitable Property Taxes for Communications Carriers – ITA urges the legislature to address the imbalance in assessment amongst communications providers. This competitive disadvantage hurts locally owned and operated communications carriers, decreases investment in new networks and costs jobs. Telecommunication providers should be assessed using the same rates and valuation methods as other commercial enterprises.
ITA will propose legislation providing exemptions on personal property/equipment and up to a certain value of cable/outside plant.