CCAGW Urges Missouri Legislators to Support House Bill 2057 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Missouri Legislators to Support House Bill 2057

State Action

House Utilities Committee
Missouri House of Representatives  
House Hearing Room 5, 201 West Capitol Avenue 
Jefferson, Missouri 65101 

Dear Representative,

On behalf of the 35,233 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Missouri, I urge you to support HB 2057.  This important legislation will clarify Missouri Revised Statutes section 67.2677 to end any ambiguity that current law permits municipalities to extend franchise fees to video streaming services.  Franchise fees are levied to reimburse the cost incurred by cable operators and video service providers that need to dig up public streets and sidewalks to provide connections to their services.  These costs are not imposed on municipalities by streaming services delivered over the internet.

Allowing Missouri municipalities to levy these fees on streaming services will ultimately harm consumers the most as these costs will be passed on to them.  It also opens the door for municipalities to claim tax authority over any service with video delivered over the internet, including even video games streamed online.  This would set a dangerous precedent whereby any over-the-top service could be forced to reimburse municipalities for “use” of rights of way.

It should be made clear that Missouri municipalities are prohibited from imposing franchise fees on streaming services.  I strongly urge your support for this commonsense, pro-consumer legislation and urge you and your colleagues to pass HB 2057.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz 
President, CCAGW

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