HB 2449 Doubles phone taxes for 9-1-1 services

VOTE:NO – Gov Brown Signed into Law

Status (overview) of bill:https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2449
Committee assigned to bill:https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Committees/HREV/Overview

This bill doubles taxes for 9-1-1 emergency communications that will allow upgrading equipment.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
Another increase in the cost to consumers without audits and accountability.

Fiscal Responsibility
Emergency communication tax revenue for the 2017–19 and 2019-21 biennia are forecast to be $91.7 million and $97.1 million, respectively. Even though there has not been an increase in rates doesn’t mean the funds haven’t significant increased with more users. So where is the increased funds going? The measure doubles the tax for emergency communications on each consumer device from $0.75 to $1.50 per month. This would make Oregon far exceed neighboring states and third nationwide (WA: $0.95, CA: $0.31, ID: $1.00 and NV: $0.25) Until 9-1-1 operations and expenditures are transparent and held accountable to oversight, such a large increase isn’t justified. The reduction in percentage for administration isn’t a reduction in funds, but will maintain the current level.

Limited Government
The telephone number 9-1-1 has been designated as the universal emergency number to request emergency assistance since 1957, when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended usage of a single number for reporting fires. In 1967, the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice recommended that a single number for reporting emergency situations was preferable to using different numbers for each type of emergency. The Emergency Communications Tax, commonly referred to as the 9-1-1 Tax in Oregon, is assessed at 75 cents per phone line or per device capable of reaching 9-1-1. The tax is collected quarterly by the Oregon Department of Revenue.

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