Leftist Cities Sue Trump Administration – to Demand Ability to Tax Us Even More

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org
Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org
Governments Want…More. Shocker

I like a lot of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – aka the President Donald Trump Tax Cuts.

Likely my favorite part – was the $10,000 cap on State and Local Tax Deductions (SALT):

“The state and local tax (SALT) deduction allows taxpayers of high-tax states to deduct local tax payments on their federal tax returns.

“The new tax plan signed by President Trump…instituted a cap on the SALT deduction.

“Starting with the 2018 tax year, the maximum SALT deduction available is $10,000. Previously, there was no limit.”

Get all that?  You were allowed unlimited deductions from your federal taxes – for your state and local taxes.

Which removed one of the main pocketbook impediment incentives – to states and localities endlessly raising taxes on you.

Which permanently green lit Leftist states and localities – to endlessly jack our taxes.

This is insane.  And very, VERY monetarily dishonest.

Now, the Trump Tax Cuts – time limit the SALT limit to 2025.  I would have very much preferred making it permanent.

And the Trump Tax Cuts capped this insanity at ten grand.  I would have very much preferred a cap of zero dollars.

But the ten grand cap – leaves Leftists going to bat for millionaires and billionaires.  Defending their right to deduct the insane state and local taxes they pay – from the insane federal taxes they pay.

Of course what Leftists are really doing – is defending state and local governments’ ability to obfuscate the true cost of the insane taxes they impose upon us.

So state and local governments – can continue to jack up the insane taxes they impose upon us.

Speaking of which….

FCC Sued by Dozens of Cities After Voting to Kill Local Fees and Rules

This is from Leftist Tech publication Ars Technica.  A member in good standing of Leftist Tech Media – a Leftist subsidiary of Leftist Big Media.

So of course the headline itself – is a lie.

The Donald Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not vote “to kill local fees.”

As Ars Technica its own self later admits:

“The cities filed lawsuits in response to the FCC’s August 1 vote that limits the fees municipalities can charge cable companies….”

The Trump FCC voted to LIMIT taxes and fees.  Not “kill them” – as this lying headline claims.

And the taxes-and-fees limit – is eminently reasonable.

(FCC Chairman) Pai: FCC Will Vote to Tighten 5% Franchise Fee Cap

What were localities doing?  Taxing in cash to the maximum 5% – and then demanding all sorts of non-cash payments on top of that:

“Some municipalities have asserted that cable operators must sign an encroachment agreement, in addition to a state-issued cable franchise….Such agreements include requirements to…relinquish facilities to the municipality upon expiration of the agreement, which is in conflict with a cable operator’s renewal rights under federal and state law.’

Did you get that?  Governments are mandating the (Internet Service Providers) ISPs – hand over their property to the government after a fixed period of time.  How very Venezuela of them.

“Localities in several states require the cable operator to pay transaction taxes based on the receipts it derives from the provision of services…

“These duplicative exactions include city business license taxes in California, local business license taxes in Missouri, local business and occupation taxes in Nebraska, and local business and occupation taxes in West Virginia….

“The City of Eugene, Oregon requires the cable operator to pay a fee of 7% of revenues and a 2% business license fee for each of the following: voice services, broadband services, and cell backhaul service, in addition to the fees already imposed on the cable franchise….

“(Several other) Oregon cities…have adopted ordinances imposing (percentage) fees on gross revenue from broadband service in addition to the fees already imposed on cable franchises.

“In California, in addition to a 5% franchise fee, cable operators pay a ‘possessory interest’ tax as imputed rent for access to the public rights-of-way. Counties generally calculated the tax by applying the franchise fee percentage (usually 5%) to cable revenue….

“In Texas,…cable operators are assessed two rights-of-way fees (one for voice and one for cable) even if a single facility is used to provision both services….

And here’s where it gets obnoxious – in yet another whole new way.

Where the governments mandate over and over and over again – that ISPs give these governments unlimited free service…just about everywhere of which these governments can think.

“Montgomery County, Maryland requires the cable operator to provide courtesy Basic and Expanded Service to all public buildings currently receiving courtesy service and up to three additional locations per year (there are now 898 complimentary accounts with an estimated value of $949,000 annually) and to provide courtesy Internet service to fifty locations.

“Ramsey-Washington Suburban Cable Commission, Minnesota (a community with 22,000 cable subscribers) requires the cable operator to provide courtesy Digital Starter cable service to 60 locations with no restriction on adding additional sites, as well as complimentary Internet service to 19 sites.

“In Minnesota, in addition to requirements that cable operators serve all schools (current and future, public and private, administrative buildings, maintenance and transportation buildings, vocational technical colleges, universities, etc.) and public buildings (current and future, owned and leased), free service demands have included the following:

“St. Cloud, Minnesota required complimentary service to parks, a nature center, a theater, convention center, a waste water treatment facility, an ice skating warming house, a history museum, and a regional airport;

“Red Wing, Minnesota required complimentary service to a marina and municipal theater;

“Apple Valley, Farmington, and Rosemount, Minnesota, negotiating jointly, requested, but ultimately were not provided, complimentary service to four municipal liquor stores, an aquatic center, a golf course, and a vocational technical college;

“Buffalo, Minnesota required complimentary service to a municipal liquor store; and

“The Northern Dakota County Cable Communications Commission has requested complimentary service to three golf courses, an ice arena, a municipal pool, an airport, a park activity center, a historical society and museum, a community college, and a water treatment plant.

“Rochester, New York recently demanded that the cable operator provide complimentary service to two city-owned cemeteries under a franchise provision that requires free service to all municipally-owned buildings.”

Well, the deceased will have free Internet access – so they can be well-informed when they go vote for Democrats.

“In New York City, two cable operators must provide, free of charge,…service to dozens of…sites across all five NYC boroughs.  These cable operators also must provide free service to the third party public access community organizations. A third operator in the City was required to pay grants to support City-designated educational and technological needs in an amount totaling $4 million in lieu of offering free services….

“The cities of Pasco and Richland, Washington, requested free drops and equipment for every public building, school, library, and university in their area (existing or new), without regard to whether the building is located close enough to the cable operator’s plant to be served without a costly plant extension.”

And on, and on, and ON, and….

The Trump FCC wisely, rightly said:

If you want to shakedown ISPs for non-cash things…those things count toward the 5% cap.  If you want the full 5% in cash – you can’t also shakedown the ISPs for non-cash things.

Of course these huge taxes and fees on ISPs – become taxes and fees on us.  Doubt it?

What Are All Those Taxes and Fees On A Phone and Internet Bill?:

“(T)hat potential cost savings your company was anticipating is much smaller than you thought, if it’s even still there.

“On telecom related services (meaning Internet service, phone service, etc.) there are state and federal taxes that often need to be charged.

“At this point, whether we like it or not, we’ve come to accept that nearly everything is taxed – Internet service and dial-tone are no exception….

“You may also see a line itemed surcharge labelled USF – this is a fee that’s paid to the Universal Service Fund, a fee that was instituted after the Communications Act of 1934 to help provide phone service to rural areas. In 1996, the USF was amended to also cover Internet access to underserved areas as well.

“Underneath your phone services, you’ll most likely see two additional fees – a 911 fee and an LNP fee. The 911 fee helps to pay for emergency 911 services to all phones, and the LNP fee (Local Number Portability) helps to cover the cost of moving phone numbers between phone companies.

“This fee was brought into place in the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to help consumers and businesses keep their phone number when they switched to a new provider, to help encourage competitive pricing and more choices for end users.

“Now – these are the most typical fees that you’ll see on your bill; from there, however, some additional fees may be charged to customers that go above and beyond that scope, and may only be charged by specific companies.

“In fact, some carriers may have their own designations and names for the fees, so it’s difficult to try and explain them all. Some carriers even provide an additional page or two just to explain all those fees and surcharges!”

And while Leftists in and out of Big Media are siding with governments everywhere demanding ever more of our money – they are simultaneously criticizing ISPs for charging too much.

The Price of Internet Is Too High

Why Is the Internet So Expensive?

Why is Internet Service in the US Overpriced?

Internet service isn’t overpriced.

Governments’ taxes and fees are.

Want Cheaper, Better Internet? Limit the Local Government Shakedowns of Internet Providers

The medical community REALLY needs to develop a self-awareness drug.

I have yet to encounter any Leftist anywhere – in possession of any self-awareness at all.

This first appeared in Red State.