WASHINGTON--()--Today at 1:30 PM CST the Tennessee General Assembly will hold a hearing on S.B. 1222, which would increase the annual tax charged to cable and telecommunications companies for pole attachments to poles owned by non-investor-owned electric utilities. On behalf of taxpayers and consumers across the state of Tennessee, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is concerned about the potentially harmful effects of this tax hike.
“Tennessee’s pole attachment fees more than twice as high as any other state in the nation.”
According to a February 28, 2013, article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the current national pole attachment fee averages about $7 per pole per year. However, in the state of Tennessee, this fee is currently 142 percent greater than the national average at $17 annually for each pole attachment. House Bill 1111/Senate Bill 1222 would increase the pole attachment fee to $33 annually, which according to the article, would make “Tennessee’s pole attachment fees more than twice as high as any other state in the nation.” The increased pole attachment fees proposed in this legislation would force cable, telecommunications and broadband providers to pay millions in additional fees that could be passed on to consumers.
The increased costs to broadband providers also create a disincentive for further broadband investments in the state of Tennessee. Internet access is a key driving force in today’s economy, and access to broadband Internet service provides economic growth and innovation across the nation.
“CCAGW is concerned about the unintended consequences this legislation would have on consumers and taxpayers in Tennessee through increased costs and a slowdown to the spread of broadband services to rural areas of the state,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “Broadband infrastructure is essential to Tennessee’s prosperity and lawmakers there should treat its private development as a prospect for growth, not an opportunity for revenue.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.