On behalf of National Taxpayers Union’s 362,000 members nationwide and our nearly 4,000 members in Alabama, I urge you to reject Senate Bill 317, which would allow additional 911 fee increases, despite the fact that just last year, the 911 Board more than doubled the 911 fee, from 70 cents to $1.60 per month. Recently, the 911 Board voted for yet another increase, from $1.60 to $1.80 (a nearly $10 million fee hike in total). If passed, SB 317 could stick wireless consumers with an even higher rate of $2.00 or more per month to fund 911 services.
Thanks to the 911 Board’s 2013 fee increase, Alabama wireless customers face the second-highest 911 fee in the country. Unfortunately, it appears that there has been little oversight and accountability of these funds, as some lawmakers are prepared to pursue still-higher rates on the backs of wireless companies and their customers. Lawmakers would be wise to first rein in state spending—which increased by over 21 percent between 2001 and 2011 (factoring in population growth and inflation)—before attempting to increase revenue through significant “fee” increases.
Our members in the Cotton State deserve to have 911 fees set at reasonable levels. Members of the House should look to Alabama’s neighbors, which have an average 911 fee of less than $1.00 per month. When it comes to nickel-and-diming taxpayers, it’s time to for lawmakers to hang up and vote “NO” on SB 317.
Sincerely,Lee SchalkState Government Affairs Manager