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11th Hour tax hikes proposed

Thursday, May 31, 2012

* Subscribers know a bit more about this fight

A Senate committee approved a 5 percent tax on satellite television service on Wednesday, legislation Democrats said would put services like DirecTV and Dish Network on the same competitive playing field as cable television and raise money for education.

The legislation passed on a 10-4 vote, with state Sens. David Luechtefeld, R-Okawville, and John Jones, R-Mount Vernon, joining Executive Committee Democrats in voting “yes.” […]

Supporters of the legislation argued that since consumers have to pay a 5 percent franchise fee if they are cable customers, satellite customers should have to do the same. But a representative of DirecTV and Dish said the franchise fee is different from the tax approved by lawmakers. […]

“Heaven help the taxpayers. We have 27 hours left. How many more taxes can we impose,” [Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno] said, alluding to a measure passed by the committee earlier that would make offshore oil captured by oil companies taxable, legislation Democrats said closed a tax loophole.

The Democrats said the TV tax proposal would raise $75 million. The satellite TV guys say that number will be far lower.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:53 am:

    I never thought I’d say this, but:

    “Go Comcast!”

  2. - How Ironic - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:06 am:

    Dislike. Then again I’m a subscriber of DirecTV.

    But I would have to ask are they similar? I don’t really understand what a franchise fee is, and if DirecTV customers are under that umbrella.

  3. - JustaJoe - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    I don’t see a reason (justification) for the tax, other than to just raise money….from us, the taxpayers. Unlike cable and telephone or even fiber optic cable, satellite TV is not delivered to the consumer via the public right-of-way (unless you count the airwaves, which are federally regulated. Does the state tax the consumer for AM & FM radio?

  4. - Judgment Day - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:20 am:

    So, let me get this straight.

    Comcast is not being competitive with the prices being offered by DirecTV and Dish Network, so the IL legislature want to put a specific tax on them to (a) allow Comcast to keep charging outrageous prices for their services; and (b) Gouge the taxpayers one more time.

    Got to give the Comcast lobsters credit for pulling this scam.

  5. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    Once I had satellite TV and radio. Once I had cable TV. Once I had a landline. Once I smoked.

    I don’t do any of those things anymore, because I can’t afford them.

    I didn’t stop them because of the taxes. I stopped them because I was out of work and broke.

    Now I watch broadcast TV. Without cigarettes.

    Levy all the new consumption taxes you want. It doesn’t matter. I’m not paying them now, because I’m not consuming.

    Let me put it this way. If there’s a point of diminishing returns from new consumption taxes, I’m already there.

  6. - b - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:22 am:

    Franchise fees are what cable companies pay to a municipality that allows them to dig trenches, dig up sidewalks, etc. to bury their cable lines. According to Satellite people, courts have upheld that franchisee fees are “rents” and not taxes. Since satellite tv, uses ,well, satellites, they don’t have to pay franchisee fees because they are not laying their cable all over. This is about cable trying to stick it to a competitor, and they apparently have a willing accomplice in the GA.

  7. - Chris - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    “This is about cable trying to stick it to a competitor, and they apparently have a willing accomplice in the GA. ”

    Yep. It’s a total anticompetitve farce.

  8. - 332bill - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    The only tax on my comcast bill is an 8 cent FCC fee.

  9. - former WRMNpolitics - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:48 am:

    How about the legislature passing a law that would allow the state and local governments to grant franchises of space between the ground and ionisphere. This would create a new revenue source and potentially allow for the collection of “revenue enhancements” for the use and consumption of air.

  10. - OurMagician - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:51 am:

    $75 million is a pie in the sky number. Interesting that the Republicans vote for this but not a cigarette tax? WWGD?

  11. - Hank - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    Does the state tax the consumer for AM & FM radio?

    Not yet, but sign back on the CapFax at 11:59PM tonight to find out!!

  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:03 am:

    ===Does the state tax the consumer for AM & FM radio?===

    It’s kinda tough to tax a service that is free. Last time I checked, satellite TV service was not free.

  13. - Colossus - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:11 am:

    Booooooooooooooo. Where’s all the talk about government picking winners and losers?

    I think Anon@10:21 makes a very good point about diminishing returns on consumption taxes, though that’s tangential to the badness of this bill.

  14. - Allen Skillicorn - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    I saw cut the 5 percent franchise fee.

  15. - vole - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    “assuming that any legislators actually read the bill and objected to this already”
    I meant didn’t object to this already.

  16. - Abu Iskandr - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    Next up: taxing Apple TV/Google TV/Roku/Hulu/Nextflix users

    The British just remove all of the pretense and tax the television sets themselves (about $170/set per annum tax). Of course, a bit of that goes straight to the Beeb.

  17. - FedUpAlready - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:04 pm:

    Next up from the IL Democrats… a 45 cent tax on each email and text message sent. Hey, folks that use snail mail have to pay that on stamps, so its only fair!

  18. - vole - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    Do I need to mention that a $6.00 per year annual sticker will be required on inner tubes and float tubes as they are included in the list of non powered watercraft that will be subject to annual stickering as required in the DNR relief bill, SB 1566? I sheesh you not! I just reread the bill, it is still in there. Just wonder if this will apply to the inner tube carrying the cooler and cold ones too. I see the rationale but not the rational.

  19. - vole - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    “per year annual” sticker

    also too

  20. - Robert - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:14 pm:

    This could be the start of some fun budget solutions. Go to companies that spend a lot on lobbying and ask them what tax they’d like to see against their smaller competitors. Enact that tax. Then go to smaller competitors, ask why it isn’t fair, and ask them how to best stick it to the original big company via another tax.

  21. - Opportwice - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. –Ronald Reagan

  22. - inker - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 4:57 pm:

    One thing as a suggestion would be that our lawmakers have not considered is toliet paper. We do not tax ink or paper for newspapers but they could tax toliet paper use and monitor for every Illinois citizen.
    I hope our legislators are all proud of their session accomplishments. Come November they need to go.

  23. - wishbone - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 9:44 pm:

    “I don’t see a reason (justification) for the tax, other than to just raise money…”


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