America's independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.


Reject Taxes on Satellite TV.
An Open Letter to the Illinois General Assembly:

November 19, 2012

Dear Legislator:

On behalf of the National Taxpayers Union and our 14,000 members in Illinois, I urge you to reject any efforts to impose new taxes on satellite TV subscribers. 

As you know, the national economy is recovering from recession very slowly, making this a particularly bad time to raise taxes. Quite simply, new taxes on satellite services would exacerbate the economic woes of many families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Some argue that because of existing “franchise fees” on the cable industry, a levy on satellite service is necessary to level the playing field between the two modes of television delivery. This is far from true.  The intent of these fees, which are currently shouldered by the cable industry, is to pay municipalities for the use of public land.  Given that satellite TV service delivery does not require the use of public land, taxing satellite subscribers would be fundamentally unfair. Similarly, the cable industry does not have to pay the government to use federally owned spectrum, as do satellite companies. In the final analysis, television providers all bear certain government burdens depending upon their business models, and policy makers should be working to lighten those burdens across the board.

Illinois is in financial and economic disarray thanks largely to an unsustainable public pension system and one of the highest tax burdens in the nation.  Piling on an additional tax would only exacerbate the problem and ignore its underlying causes.

In the name of fairness and economic growth, I again urge you to oppose new taxes on Illinoisans, including the proposed tax on satellite TV subscribers.


Brandon Arnold
Vice President of Government Affairs