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States Still ‘Stealing’ 911 Phone Fees Away from Emergency Services

This is theft, plain and simple.

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Every American cell phone user pays a tax on his phone bill to help pay for the state’s 911 services. But, once again, the FCC has found that a group of states, some Democrat-controlled, are stealing those taxes and using them for purposes other than what they are supposed to pay for.

This week, the FCC has released a new statement informing us that the theft is still ongoing.

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The theft is continuing in Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The FCC reported:

The Federal Communications Commission today published its tenth annual report to Congress on the collection and distribution of 911 fees by states. The report finds that in calendar year 2017, states and territories collected more than $2.9 billion in 911 fees. But almost $285 million of that funding—approximately 9.7%—was diverted for uses other than 911.

“When Americans pay 911 fees on their phone bills, they rightfully expect that money to fund 911-related services,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “Unfortunately, the FCC’s annual report shows that, once again, several states have siphoned 911 funding for unrelated purposes. This is outrageous and it undermines public safety. But there is also some good news: Thanks to Commissioner O’Rielly’s efforts to shine a light on the issue of 911 fee diversion, as well as the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau’s ongoing work, this is the first time that every jurisdiction has responded to the FCC’s annual 911 fee survey. Hopefully, drawing attention in this way to the unacceptable practice of 911 fee diversion will help end it.”

The FCC’s report identifies six states and one territory as diverting 911 fees for other uses last year: Montana, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition, the FCC’s report contains detailed state-by-state data on other aspects of 911 deployment in the United States, including the number and type of 911 calls, the number of 911 call centers and telecommunicators, investment in Next Generation 911, programs to support cybersecurity for 911 systems, and the extent of state-level oversight and auditing of the collection and use of 911 fees.

The FCC is required by law to submit an annual report to Congress on the states’ collection and distribution of 911 fees. The FCC’s latest state 911 fee report, as well as reports from prior years, are available at www.fcc.gov/general/911-fee-reports. The agency also issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the findings in the new report.

The problem is not new, of course. Earlier this year, FCC Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel wrote an op-ed for The Hill trying to alert America that state governments were misusing their 911 tax fees.

“On our individual phone bills, a line item is typically included for 911 service,” they wrote, “It’s a relatively small fee that states and localities charge to support emergency calling services. But too many states are stealing these funds and using them for other purposes, like filling budget gaps, purchasing vehicles, or worse.”

“This is deceptive. After all, consumers are paying to support 9-1-1 calling but a portion of the fees are being diverted elsewhere,” they wrote. “According to a recent report released by our agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), five states and territories suctioned almost $130 million from their 9-1-1 systems and another seven didn’t even bother to respond to our inquiry to examine their diversion practices. None of this is acceptable.”

That op-ed was written in February. Now, as the year closes out, we see that the theft is still happening.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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George Soros Drops $1M to Defund Police During Major Crimewave

Wow.

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If you were to ask around in the farther-flung corners of the conservative internet, you’d not find much high praise for George Soros. The liberal billionaire has been spending much of his time, (and wealth), bullying the sociopolitical system into leaning to the left, and he hasn’t been trying to hide it at all.  This has made him a bit of a boogeyman within conservative circles, and rightly so. His latest bit of “philanthropy” appears to fall right in line with his previous maneuvers. Liberal mega-donor George Soros has directed $1 million to an activist group attempting to defund the police as violent crime surges in major urban centers across the nation. Soros sent the million dollars via his Color Of Change PAC on May 14, according to Federal Election Commission files obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. The organization describes itself as “the nation’s largest online racial justice organization” and actively engages in efforts to defund police departments such as spreading an online petition calling for “divesting from and dismantling the systems that unjustly harm Black people.” The group also backed a push by the Milwaukee City Council to defund the police. And they aren’t mincing their words. “Policing is a violent institution that must end,” the group’s president wrote in a statement supporting the move. “We imagine a country where there is enough money to educate our children, care for our sick and feed those who are financially unstable. Defunding the police allows for this vision.” The move comes amid a massive crime spike in liberal cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, and New York.

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Southern Restaurant Scorched After Refusing to Serve Unvaccinated People

The unvaccinated are quickly becoming second class citizens in America.

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In these late-stages of the pandemic, there are a number of emerging plot lines that almost seem more controversial than those that we experienced at the beginning of this fiasco, and it makes us wonder if some of it isn’t just for show. For instance, in the restaurant industry, where just about every businesses owner is struggling mightily, there are a number of different approaches to dealing with this latest “delta” variant of COVID-19.  This is of particular note now that many establishments had reopened during the lull in cases, and are now hanging on for dear life during “delta”. But one restaurant in the deep south has thrown their prosperity aside, and are making the controversial decision to serve only vaccinated customers. An Atlanta restaurant is making the bold decision to serve only customers who are fully vaccinated. Argosy Restaurant and Bar, located in East Atlanta Village, is one of the first businesses in Georgia to mandate with signs that say “No Vax, No Service.” The company owner made the decision earlier this week after he and several of his employees, who were all fully vaccinated, contracted the virus as breakthrough cases. The owner has suggested that these breakthrough cases were worse for business than treating the unvaccinated as though they are second class citizens. “We did it strictly as a business decision after multiple staff members tested positive,” said restaurant owner Armando Celentano. “We had to close down during a busy weekend, losing out on tens of thousands of dollars.” The decisions certainly stirred up a great deal of conversation on social media, where the restaurant received both praise and criticism for its decision.

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