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FCC Hammers Taxpayers With Terrible One-Two Punch

by Douglas Kellogg / /

(Alexandria, VA) – The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) announcement that it will adopt new Title II-style net neutrality rules was accompanied by another outrageous decision to block the states of Tennessee and North Carolina from limiting the scope of municipal broadband projects that expose taxpayers to unnecessary risk.

“The FCC’s one-two combination will have taxpayers and consumers reeling,” said National Taxpayers Union (NTU) President Pete Sepp. “This level of regulatory overreach is scary enough, but the taxes, spending, and debt these decisions will lead to are likely to leave Americans’ wallets sore.”

Some estimates have the potential new tax burden ranging from $11 billion to $15 billion, depending on how the FCC’s net neutrality rules interact with the Internet Tax Freedom Act, or whatever might be in its place given its expiration later this year.

The agency’s added preemption of Tennessee and North Carolina state laws, was the capper on a dismal day for America’s taxpayers.

The FCC’s faulty logic in this decision makes it sound as if Tennessee and North Carolina have blocked all broadband expansion, rather than put sensible limits on misguided government broadband enterprises that continue to harm taxpayers and fail spectacularly to provide competitive service.

As NTU pointed out in a prior statement: “North Carolina and Tennessee’s laws do not prevent government-owned broadband networks in areas where there is a real need. They merely put responsible limits on the growth of these networks so taxpayers aren’t needlessly put at risk. For this reason, the FCC should vote to uphold these laws.” 

NTU’s “February Fails” site provides example after example demonstrating the high cost for low (and often no) reward of municipal broadband projects; and NTU’s “Wired to Waste” study of these misguided enterprises systematically reveals their unacceptable cost to taxpayers. 

Sepp concluded, “With these decisions the FCC is offering a clear prediction for taxpayers: pain.”

National Taxpayers Union, “The Voice of America’s Taxpayers”, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. More information on NTU’s work is available at www.ntu.org.