"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Tax Cell Phones for 911 Service?

August 7th, 2007 by mopns · 3 Comments

Show Me Institute policy analyst David Stokes seems to take issue today with implementing a tax to provide 911 service statewide:

“I really don’t mind the idea of a tax to improve 911 service throughout Missouri, but I do mind that people from areas that have 911 service are going to be taxed to give it to people who don’t.” Read more…

Huh?? If a tax was ever implemented to provide 911 service statewide, won’t the people in areas currently without 911 service be taxed along with the people with service and who have been paying the tax all along?

We love at the Missouri Political News Service, the Show Me Institute’s principles which are “rooted in the American tradition of free markets and individual liberty.” Unfortunately, we’ve found that sometimes in an effort to adhere to the Institute’s ideology, analysts write posts that can be construed as rigid in their arguments. For example, analyst Sarah Brodsky argued in June against taking time from the Missouri Legislature to debate official designations.

We can appreciate Stoke’s assertion, that in his view, the tax amounts to no taxation without representation, but don’t we pay taxes for bridges and roads in other parts of the state that we’ll never use? I would hate to tell an out of town person that their loved one died in an accident, because citizens in another part of the state didn’t want to pay a tax for 911 service. In this age of judicial activism, it is only a matter of time before a wrongful death or negligence suit is filed because of lack of 911 service. Or, a liberal judge may impose the tax himself on the people.There is precedent for this.

If consumers can pay a telephone tax for 100 years to pay for the Spanish American War, then what’s wrong with paying a tax for this vital service?

Comments

comments

Tags: David Stokes

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David Stokes // Aug 7, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    “Seems” is the correct word, because I realy don’t mind paying a tax for statewide cellular 911 tracking. It is needed and would be beneficial. The most important part of my post comes at the end. There are a number of opportunities for consolidation in 911 delivery and those options should be mandated as part of any tax increases, so that the least amount of tax money is required to install and operate the service. And I do think that if some small, rural county has not yet installed land-line 911 service they should pay for it themselves. If they did it as a group or joined an existing consortium it would not be too expensive. Starting 21 new ones from scratch would probably be very expensive.

  • 2 Rich // Aug 7, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    David – you would be assuming that the guys who write this stuff were actually successful in their political careers which would also indicate that they knew what they were talking about. Neither is true.

  • 3 Rick Bailie // Aug 27, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    This can open a rather large can of worms. First, most people who have cell phones also have line based phones. A tax on the cell phone will cause these people to be double taxed for the same service. Phone numbers and area codes are already hoplessly mixed up. Who do you know living in Missouri that has a Kansas cell phone number and vice versa? With the cell phone structure, it would be easy for someone to avoid the tax by simply subscribing to service in a different area or state. Enforcement of the tax would soon become very inexpensive and hugely inefficient. You will have double taxation for many, avoidance of the tax by many, and still many more forced to pay taxes for a service that they cannot receive. All of this will only result in adding one more tax to a public already overburdened by taxes. At the end of the day, if history is any indicator, not one out of one hundred recipients of the service will see any discernable difference in its operation.

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