The Telecommunications Association of Michigan opposes House Bill 4651 and Senate Bill 400 for the following reasons:
- They will increase 911 taxes on Michigan businesses and residents by up to $33 million annually.
- They contain no cost saving provisions. There are fiscally responsible alternatives available that don’t include tax increases to ensure sufficient funding for Next Generation 911 deployment.
- They double the budget for the State 911 Office and create new regulations on telecommunications providers.
According to data submitted by the State 911 Office to the Federal Communications Commission, Michigan collects more than $249 million for 911 services, which ranks us 2nd in the country for spending on 911 and represents an increase of 27% since 2011. Proponents of these bills – state and local government agencies that are recipients of taxpayer dollars from 911 surcharges – fail to explain why already increasing tax revenues are not sufficient to cover the costs of providing 911 services.
In addition, Michigan is on the leading edge of deploying NG 911 thanks to partnerships between the private sector and individual counties. There is no need for the State 911 Office to seek to reduce local control by inserting itself into county technology decisions.
While we oppose House Bill 4651 and Senate Bill 400 for their unnecessary tax increases, regulatory overreach and lack of cost saving reforms, we believe that a combination of reallocating existing funding, administrative reforms and prioritizing NG 911 funding is a far better approach.