Al Stewart released “Year of the Cat” back in the dark ages — 1976. Now, forty-two (42) years later, 2018 is becoming the Year of the Cut — tax cut that is!
It began at the end of last year with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the Federal level having an almost immediate impact on what we are going to be surrendering to the Federal government.
Many state and local governments are working on reforming their tax systems as well. Missouri is one of the state’s leading the way.
With all of this “major” tax reform going on, it is easy to overlook other activities taking place that could and should reduce taxes but on a smaller scale.
Here’s an example.
Missouri cable/video customers have been required by law to pay to cities franchise fees of up to 5% on top of the cable bill ostensibly because the infrastructure to deliver the video product “uses” the public right-of-way.
Everyone should re-read the sentence above — it is not the cable companies paying this 5% fee (tax)!
Cable companies collect and remit millions of dollars of these fees to local governments in Missouri each year.
As consumers, we get our video products in many different and new ways. You may be one of those who has joined the “cut the cord” movement and eliminated your cable or similar wired delivery system. The movement is growing, and these legacy franchise fees have declined in recent years as a result.
Good for consumers — bad for the local governments!
The latest technology movement for delivery of high speed, high quality video was recently in the news, it’s known as the 5G system. 5G is a high-speed wireless video distribution system using the public right-of-way, but does not include collecting or remitting any franchise fees on the video product being delivered to consumers.
The answer is not to put a franchise fee on the new wireless video distribution system! It is to eliminate or at least reduce the franchise fee on the legacy systems!
The proposed wireless video distribution system without the associated cable franchise fee sets up an unlevel playing field for consumers and cable companies alike. Cable customers who are required by law to pay a fee their neighbors would not have to pay if they get their video product from a wireless company. Two families living next to each other, watching the same Disney movie, could result in one family forced by law to pay an extra fee!
House Bill (HB) 1991 and Senate Bill (SB) 837 create a method for rapid 5G deployment in Missouri using small cell technology. However, the Missouri legislature should avoid picking winners and losers in a very competitive marketplace by creating an unlevel playing field with different taxes for different consumers on a similar product.
The result of any legislation cannot be having consumers who use legacy cable systems receiving a similar product paying an unnecessary high franchise fee while their neighbors are not!
Senator Caleb Rowden is prepared in SB 837 to include the video franchise fee reductions to level the playing field for all who choose to remain legacy video system users!
You can help him make sure that these fees (taxes) are reduced and that the legislature does not pick winners and losers by signing this petition.
SB 837 will not prohibit, impede OR add new taxes on the development of the new wireless video distribution system but it will ensure competition stays in place!
Let Senator Rowden know you support a reduction in fees and a fair, level playing field for all consumers!