Get ready for this one folks.
Senator David Shafer is considering legislation that will scrap the Universal Access Fund on your phone bills and save you some money. The plan is sound and does a ten year phase out.
But a bipartisan group appears intent on muscling in an amendment in the process to not just keep the UAF, but expand it. They tried it last year and came close to succeeding.
You can get some information here on the background of this legislation. Basically, the GOP has been pushing to scrap the Universal Access Fund, a tax on your businesses that subsidizes telecom carriers in rural areas. But for some reason, the big dogs in the GOP keep getting some big businesses to come in, make a few campaign contributions through scantily clad lobbyists, and the GOP leadership keeps trying to increase the Universal Access Fund instead of killing it.
This year the proposed legislation is being pushed by AT&T lobbyists so AT&T can get out from under some payments to rural telecom providers. The proposal would essentially provide $143 million in corporate welfare over the next ten years to rural telephone companies whether or not they need it.
Never mind that Georgia already has an $11 million Universal Access Fund that taxes all wireline telephone companies.
Shafer’s plan is sound. The potential amendment to kill Shafer’s legislation and raise taxes instead is ridiculous.