Democracy and Technology Blog

Broadband taxes

Share
Facebook
Twitter
googleplus Google+
arroba Email

Broadband taxes

The National Broadband Plan is going to take a while to digest.
The following recommendations are included in the description of how the FCC plans to subsidize broadband — which may be necessary if it frightens away private investment with network neutrality regulation which deprives private investors of a fair return on their capital:

RECOMMENDATION 8.2: The FCC should create the Connect America Fund (CAF). (p. 145-46)
RECOMMENDATION 8.3: The FCC should create the Mobility Fund. (p. 146)
RECOMMENDATION 8.4: The FCC should design new USF funds in a tax-efficient manner to minimize the size of the gap. (p. 146)
RECOMMENDATION 8.6: The FCC should take action to shift up to $15.5 billion over the next decade from the current high-cost program to broadband through common-sense reforms. (p. 147-48)
RECOMMENDATION 8.15: To accelerate broadband deployment, Congress should consider providing optional public funding to the Connect America Fund, such as a few billion dollars per year over a two to three year period. (p. 151)

Does the FCC have the power to do all of these things?
This language makes it sound like the FCC views itself as a mini-Congress with the power to tax and spend.
I cannot imagine this is the sort of thing the Founding Fathers had in mind when they provided that “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,” (Art. I, Sec. 8) “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” (Art. I, Sec. 7) and “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” (Art. I, Sec. 9)