A tax scheduled to end? Stop!
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and two local law enforcement officials want telephone users to help pay for police, firefighters and paramedics through their phone bills.
Barrett, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Police Chief Edward Flynn are asking Gov. Jim Doyle and the Legislature to give municipalities control over the 911 telephone surcharge that is supposed to expire Nov. 30. They’re hoping to add that provision to the budget-repair bill now under consideration.
Even better, the mayor wants to expand the tax:
The surcharge on cellular telephone users was created in 2005 to cover the costs of technology to pinpoint the locations of cell phones during calls to the 911 emergency number. Montgomery said that technology has saved at least 15 lives statewide.
The fee started at 83 cents a month, rose to 92 cents in 2006 and then dropped this year to 43 cents.
But before the fee expires, Barrett wants lawmakers to authorize municipal governments to retain the surcharge and expand it to cover all telephones, including land lines provided by both telephone and cable companies. Milwaukee would be able to boost its charge to a maximum of $1 a month in 2009 and $1.50 a month in future years.[Emphasis added]
In the sidebar, the mayor as quoted as saying, “Gun crime is expensive, and fighting crime is expensive.” Gee, mayor, how about some prioritization? Pick either gun crime or fighting crime then, instead of making taxpayers of your (formerly) fair city pay for everything you can dream of in your power-mad dreams?