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