Counties Raise Concerns On Telecommunications “Reforms” Study

MACo Legislative Director Andrea Mansfield testified before the House Ways and Means Committee in support of HB 563 with amendments. Panelists who testified in conjunction with MACo included: Mitsuko Kerrera, Cable Communications Administrator, Montgomery County; John Lyons, Cable television Administrator, Anne Arundel County; Lori Sherwood, Broad Ban Program Director or ICBN, Howard County; and Sylvia Strobel, Executive Director, Foundation of the Alliance for Community Media. This bill would establish a 13 member Telecommunications Tax Reform Commission to assess the feasibility and fiscal implications for State and local governments of a competitively neutral telecommunications tax and fee system that encourages investment in broadband networks and eliminates the disparate treatment of similar telecommunications service providers.  The bill also imposes a far-reaching moratorium on State and local governments imposing new, or raising existing, telecommunications taxes and fees.

Local governments will be suggesting a number of changes to modify the scope of this Commission, all of which are supported by MACo.  These changes will limit the tax commission’s review to telecommunication taxes only; expand the tax commission’s charge to review broadband network investment; and to address inequities and logical inconsistencies within the bill. MACo would like to focus its comments in the following areas:

  • Eliminate the moratorium
  • Expand representation on the Commission
  • Expand the scope and time frame of the Commission’s review

To read MACo’s complete testimony on HB 563, click here

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