VOTE:NO – Died In Committee
Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2184
Committee assigned to bill:https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019R1/Committees/JWMTR/Overview
This bill expands a 10-year universal service surcharge to include retail commercial mobile radio services and retail interconnected voice over internet protocol services to be used for a broadband fund for remote and underserved communities, and reduces maximum surcharge to 6%.
Personal Choice and Responsibility
It’s five-million in taxes that will hurt all Oregonians – especially those with low and moderate incomes. This regressive tax will have a negative impact on working families and burden those who rely most on wireless as a vital lifeline.
Establishes Broadband Fund and transfers an amount equal to the lesser of $5 million or the remainder in the universal service fund above $30 million per year to Broadband Fund for providing grants and loans for open access broadband service infrastructure projects with a sunset of January 2, 2030.
In 1999, the Legislative Assembly directed the PUC to create and implement the Oregon Universal Service Fund and to pay for it with a surcharge on all retail telecommunications sales in Oregon. The surcharge is now assessed on wireline telephone customers, but not on wireless or video service; the current surcharge rate is 8.5 percent. Currently, Oregon has one of the highest USF surcharges in the country at 8.5 percent of Intrastate revenues. HB 2184 expands the surcharge to add the to the list retail commercial mobile radio services and retail interconnected voice over internet protocol services, and reduces the rate to 6 percent.
The industry says it doesn’t make sense to tax one kind of service – to subsidize a completely different kind of internet service.