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Group urges residents to fight fee hike on phones

A consumer advocacy group is encouraging District residents to fight a proposal by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to increase a fee on phone lines by 39 cents to generate $7 million in his fiscal 2011 budget plan.

The D.C. Council, scheduled to vote on the budget by mid-June, is making changes to the proposal. Fenty (D) has pushed the hike in E-911 fee in the past, but the council has knocked down the proposals, finding other ways to generate funds. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), chairman of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, has led council members against what he says is a tax increase, not a fee increase., a nonprofit that started in 2005, isn't taking chances, advertising on local blogs to get the council and mayor to nix the proposal.

Brian Johnston, a spokesman for the nonprofit, said the group is registered as a 501C4 so it is prohibited from directly lobbying elected officials about its cause. "Our Web site itself is the advocacy hub," he said. The site lists numbers to call the mayor and council about the fee.

Though the group's efforts are national, the mayor's proposal "is right in our backyard," he said. "We want [consumers] to know how it affects them."

Last week, gym and yoga enthusiasts inundated council members with e-mails against the idea of taxes on health club memberships. Groups have lobbied council members to consider a host of sales and income taxes to help fill the budget gap.

-- Nikita Stewart

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By Jennifer Abella  |  May 10, 2010; 10:54 AM ET
Categories:  City Finances , D.C. Council , Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  | Tags: Adrian Fenty, Brian Johnston, Committee on Public Safety, DC Council, Phil Mendelson, phone tax  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: D.C. Democratic committee wants to tax the rich
Next: Orange takes on Brown to succeed Gray for council chairman


go cats

Posted by: billjones21 | May 10, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

John Wall for Mayor.

Posted by: BillyG | May 10, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I cannot do it.

The District of Columbia does not do enough to control waste, fraud and abuse. How can I sit here, and listen to this?

AMF started with a lot of good will and good feelings.

Between the Domincan fire trucks, PEachoholic sweet deals, high paid unqualified girlfriend of cronies as directors of agencies, and sole source contracts..I cannot do it.

In addition, he doesn't understand that employing District residents would raise the tax base...anyone who lives in DC and works in DC pays taxes to DC.... But if you work here and live in Maryland/Virginia you pay taxes to Maryland/Virginia. He has done nothing to address unemployment.

I cannot do it. I would not give this guy a 20 dollar prepaid gift card for five minutes. It would come back missing 10.00 or not at all.

He should not be wasting any of my tax dollars.

Posted by: 411Tibby | May 10, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

This post is an example of unbelievably lazy reporting. is not a consumer advocacy group--it's a business group, plain and simple. According to its website, the group's only agenda is to "educate consumers about harmful wireless taxes, fees and regulations." The group does nothing to press wireless companies to give their customers better service, even though US consumers report very high rates of dissatisfaction with wireless carriers.

See Common Cause's description of as astroturf.

Posted by: hungrypug | May 10, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Remember the good old days when the cab drivers bought cash flow into the city?

Posted by: starclimber9 | May 10, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

@starclimber: of course I remember!

Gary Busey, Bill Maher in his first movie, and Mr T in an argyle sweater-vest and hot pink pants--who could forget?

Posted by: hungrypug | May 10, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

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