Missouri - Support SB 526 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Missouri - Support SB 526

State Action

January 16, 2020

The Honorable Wayne Wallingford, 31st District
Chairman
Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment
The Capitol
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO  65101

The Honorable Jeanie Riddle, 10th District
Vice Chairman
Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment
The Capitol
201 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO  65101

Dear Senators Wallingford and Riddle,

I urge you to support SB 526, a bill to repeal sections 67.1846, 67.2689, and 67.5122, RSMo, and enact in lieu thereof three new sections relating to video service providers.  Since its inception, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has been at the forefront of the fight for efficiency, economy, and accountability in government.  CCAGW has more than one million members and supporters nationwide, including 38,727 in the state of Missouri, and, over the past 34 years has helped save taxpayers $1.8 trillion.

Section 622(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, allows counties and municipal governments to charge up to a 5 percent franchise fee on video services.  In 1984, the average cable customer’s monthly bill was between $7.00 and $8.00.  Today, due to increased services offered to customers over the same lines, made possible by billions of dollars of investments in new technologies, those bills now average more than $100 per month.  Franchise fees for video services are typically passed on to consumers to compensate local jurisdictions for use of the public right of way.  Unfortunately, some jurisdictions have decided that these franchise fees amount to a cash cow, charging increasingly higher fees even when little to no disruption has occurred in the right of way.

SB 526 would limit the amount on which a county or municipality can impose the 5 percent franchise fee cap to the first $20 of a consumer’s video provider bill.  This amount is based on the cost of video services provided when the cap was first imposed adjusted for inflation. 

Reducing costs to consumers by reducing the amount on which the 5 percent franchise fee can be assessed upon will allow Missourians to keep more of their hard-earned income.  CCAGW urges you and your colleagues to support SB 526. 

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

cc: Members of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment

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