Relates to the public safety communications surcharge and amends the distributions of monies collected pursuant to such surcharge and provides for the repeal of certain provisions relating thereto.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the tax law, in relation to the public safety communications surcharge and repealing certain provisions of such law relating thereto
PURPOSE: Specifies what percentage of the public safety communications surcharge funds shall go to counties and local governments, and what percentage shall go to the state.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1: Repeals Subdivision 6 of section 186-f of the tax law and a new subdivision 6 is added.
New subdivision 6 specifies that:
58.3% of surcharge funds shall be used for the provision of grants or reimbursements to counties for the development, including next generation 911, consolidation, or operation of public safety communications systems or networks designed to support interoperable communications for first responders.
41.7% shall be jointly apportioned to the state police, the New York State emergency services revolving loan fund, and other uses by the state.
Section 2: provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: New York passed a law in 1991 that placed a 70 cent surcharge on cell phone bills, and in 2002 raised the tax to $1.20 per cell phone. Funding was intended to be transferred from the state police to local governments to pay for 911 call center services and technology upgrades. For years, however, the state has been diverting these funds for other purposes. A 2002 audit by then-Comptroller H. Carl McCall identified and criticized the state police for spending the funds on dry cleaning, conferences, pens, decals, garbage removal and other miscellaneous items unrelated to 911 call center upgrades. The law was changed in response, but failed to require that wireless surcharge funds be diverted to local governments.
The New York State 911 Coordinators Association estimates that New York State has collected over $1.2 billion in surcharges since 1994, and of the $190 million collected last year the state transferred only $9.3 million to county governments.
In 2004 Congress passed a law that limited 911 grants to states that were improperly diverting wireless tax revenue and the U.s. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has requested and received no response from New York state officials over the course of two investigations into the
collection and use of funds for the 50 States and District of Columbia wireless Enhanced 911 Services.
County governments have been forced to raise sales and/or property taxes to cover for Albany's improper diversion of these funds. In addition to being irresponsible, such improper allocation of funds may be illegal. For example, the Tennessee Attorney General recently concluded that raiding of 911 funds in that state was illegal based on the Federal Enhance 911 Act of 1994.
Removing discretion from the state in deciding how wireless surcharge funds will be allocated will ensure local governments receive the funds necessary to upgrade 911 call centers and ensure counties are not forced to raise property and/or sales taxes or fees to cover for Albany's improper withholding of public safety communications surcharge funds.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5509--A 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 26, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. GRISANTI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to the public safety communi- cations surcharge and repealing certain provisions of such law relat- ing thereto THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 6 of section 186-f of the tax law is REPEALED and a new subdivision 6 is added to read as follows: 6. DISTRIBUTION. THE MONIES COLLECTED FROM THE SURCHARGE IMPOSED BY THIS SECTION SHALL BE DISTRIBUTED IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER: (A) FIFTY-EIGHT AND THREE-TENTHS PERCENT SHALL BE USED FOR THE PROVISION OF GRANTS OR REIMBURSEMENTS TO COUNTIES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT, CONSOLIDATION, OR OPERATION OF PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS OR NETWORKS DESIGNED TO SUPPORT STATEWIDE INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS, INCLUDING NEXT GENERATION 911, TO BE DISTRIBUTED PURSUANT TO STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES ISSUED BY THE STATE. ANNUAL GRANTS MAY CONSIDER COSTS BORNE BY A MUNICIPALITY RELATED TO THE ISSUANCE OF LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY COMMUNICATIONS BONDS PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES LAW, WHEN THE MUNICIPALITY HAS QUALIFIED AS AN APPROVED PARTICIPANT IN A STATEWIDE INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM UNDER THE STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES ISSUED BY THE STATE, AND MAINTAINS COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES. THE GRANT AMOUNT WILL BE PRESCRIBED PURSUANT TO AN AGREEMENT WITH THE MUNI- CIPALITY, AND MAY NOT EXCEED THIRTY PERCENT OF THE ANNUAL COST BORNE BY THE MUNICIPALITY IN RELATION TO SUCH BONDS; AND (B) FORTY-ONE AND SEVEN-TENTHS PERCENT SHALL BE JOINTLY APPORTIONED, PURSUANT TO RULES AND REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE COMMISSIONER, TO: (I) THE STATE POLICE, (II) THE NEW YORK STATE EMERGENCY SERVICES REVOLV-EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10600-03-1 S. 5509--A 2
ING LOAN FUND, (III) PROVIDE FOR THE COSTS OF DEBT SERVICE FOR BONDS AND NOTES ISSUED TO FINANCE EXPEDITED DEPLOYMENT FUNDING PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE OF THE COUNTY LAW AND SECTION SIXTEEN HUNDRED EIGHTY-NINE-H OF THE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES LAW, AND (IV) PROVIDE FOR SERVICES AND EXPENSES THAT SUPPORT THE OPERATIONS AND MISSION OF THE DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES AS APPROPRIATED BY THE LEGISLATURE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law; provided, however, that effective immediate- ly, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date is authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.