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.
Mywireless.org, 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
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
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