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 Cell Phone Tax
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ShadowMan

USA
4158 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  8:57:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit ShadowMan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What's a tax? Money collected by the government from individuals to be used for a public use instead.

Calling it a fee doesn't change the fact that it's a tax. Referencing or comparing it to a usage fee on regular phone bills as evidence it's only a fee is misleading, at best. It is merely comparing one tax to another. The phone companies identify it because they don't want to be yelled at by customers for their bills going up. So they want to identify that the fee is being collected by force from the goverment.

So Union County wants to raise my cell phone bill by a dollar each month. And they're only going to charge it to cell phone users because they're the only ones that benefit from the enhancements to the 911 service.

I disagree. The County directly benefits from the first phase of the upgrade. They'll gain the ability to see and record the phone number of cell phone users. The fact that they can't right now means that the can't identify prank or crank callers if they're calling from a cell phone. After phase 1 is completed, they'll have that information. The County as a whole gains from better 911 service.

Saying that only the cell phone owner gets taxed because they're the only beneficiaries makes me wonder what percentage of calls come into the 911 system today from cell phones.

911 operations have to keep detailed records. I'd like to see the data presented that shows that only cell phone owners will benefit from this 911 service upgrade, and thus should be the only ones to shoulder the cost of it.

Data should show (and be presented on):


  • How many 911 calls are received at present? (monthly, for example)

  • Of those, how many are from cell phones? (Should be identifiable because the caller ID field is blank)

  • How many of those 911 calls are on behalf of a motorist that just had a bad accident (rather than the driver themselves) or from a driver who just came upon or saw some emergency situation developing? (should be identifiable or collectable from 911 records)

  • Of the cellular 911 calls, how many are from people that are not residents of Union County? (should be identifiable or collectable from 911 records)
  • How many cell phone users are there in Union County? (I wonder if this data is really known)

  • How much money is this fee expected to raise?

  • What is the cost of the 911 system upgrades?

  • [*]Would this fee be reduced or eliminated before the 18 months are up if or when the amount collected exceeded the cost of the upgrade?

Also, how would this $1 monthly fee be collected from indiviuals who have a pay-per-use plan where they just purchase minutes for the phone as needed (every 45 or 60 days, judging from my wife's usage). Or am I subsiding the system for those people as well?

If you're going to tax some of us, you should go ahead and tax all of us. According to the argument presented for only taxing cell phone owners, the portion of property taxes collected to pay for public schools should not be collected from retirees or anyone else that does not have a child in the public school system.

If it's not already clear, I disagree with the way this tax is being added to my phone bill, and I disagree with the contention that only cell phone users will benefit from the 911 service upgrades.

Shadow


FWIW, JOMO. YMMV!

Edited by - ShadowMan on 01/28/2005 9:09:56 PM

mad4martinis

USA
13730 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:12:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You should get Thor to do a story on this or a poll. You've changed my outlook on it some.

Shaken, dirty, 4 Olives.Go to Top of Page

puddin pop

USA
4628 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:19:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How in the world are they gonna do this?

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mad4martinis

USA
13730 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:20:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How, or when? It's a dun deal.

Shaken, dirty, 4 Olives.Go to Top of Page

puddin pop

USA
4628 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:24:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If it helps the emergency services then it will be alright by me.

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puddin pop

USA
4628 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:27:37 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How do they know who has a cell phone anyway? I'm sorry but I havent heard of this till now.

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ShadowMan

USA
4158 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:30:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit ShadowMan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
See, there's another benefit to the County, Puddin! Helps the emergency services get to the proper location faster, thereby spending less time on the road and more time available.

The write-up on the decision, by the way, was in both this week's Sentinel and NGN.

Shadow


FWIW, JOMO. YMMV! Go to Top of Page

puddin pop

USA
4628 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2005 :  9:31:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will have to check it out Shadow then. Thanks

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ShadowMan

USA
4158 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2005 :  01:09:46 AM  Show Profile  Visit ShadowMan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The new cell phone service charge is specified according to the Georgia Code and everything that Lamar laid out about it is in accordance with that Code.

You can read the relevant section of the Georgia Code here: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2003_04/gacode/46-5-134.html

Essentially, it spells out that the fee can be no more than $1.00 a month and is collected against each subscriber. The cell phone companies that operate in the area are responsible for providing a list of their subscribers with addresses located within the county.

The money collected can only be used for the enhanced 911 service and if that collected money exceeds by a certain amount the expenses of providing and maintaining the service, there is a provision for reducing or removing the charge.

I guess what I most keyed in on was describing it as a fee. Fees are voluntary, paid in return for recieving some service. If I want to go fishing in public waters, I have to pay a fee to get a fishing license and trout stamp. If I don't want to fish, I don't pay the fee. Or toll roads. If I don't want to pay that fee, I just don't get on the toll road.

Taxes have to be voted on by the voting constituency though, so they defintely want to avoid that designation if at all possible. I don't know why it matters, though. I'm pretty sure I'll never see the SPLOST go away in my lifetime. Once you start a tax, it is next to impossible to turn it off again.

The State calls it a service charge. Tax, fee, service charge - they're all a lot alike to me.

Shadow


FWIW, JOMO. YMMV! Go to Top of Page

GrayEagle

USA
9966 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2005 :  2:27:19 PM  Show Profile  Visit GrayEagle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Is there any word on the outcome of this meeting on Feb 8?

"E-911 upgrade to identify cell phone callers

Union County is acquiring equipment that will enhance E-911 service for cell phone users. Phase I will allow E-911 operators to see which phone number is calling. Phase II will allow E-911 operators to pinpoint where in the county the call is being made from. To cover the cost of the equipment, the county is allowed by law to add $1 per month to the cell phone bill.

Commissioner Lamar Paris stated at his recent county meeting the charge will be a user fee. "Those who do not have cell phones, as taxpayers, should not have to pay for the cost of a system they have no access to nor use of," said Paris. A public hearing will be held Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the county courthouse on this issue. Four months after the Feb. 8 hearing, the county may begin to collect the monthly fee."

GrayEagle
Psalms 19:14 - "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."Go to Top of Page

nativelady

USA
11126 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2005 :  6:47:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit nativelady's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well......??????

"For greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world."
Love and Peace to all....Go to Top of Page

ShadowMan

USA
4158 Posts

Posted - 02/13/2005 :  8:45:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit ShadowMan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There wasn't really any outcome to be had. It was an informational session to explain how the Georgia legislature, like crafty pickpockets, had already taken the money but we just didn't realize it yet.

The money goes to good cause. It's the method and terminology I didn't don't agree with. But that wasn't Lamar's fault. He (and Union County) is just the beneficary.

Shadow


FWIW, JOMO. YMMV! Go to Top of Page

   
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