The increased tax would go to a government-run project known as the E-Rate program, which was ostensibly designed to connect low-income schools to high-speed Internet. Key facts for taxpayers:
- The program isn’t working. Before the administration rushes to throw taxpayer money at another federal program, it should assess how that program is working. Schools applying for E-Rate subsidies run into a number of barriers that lead to delays in distributing funds and connecting schools. Because bureaucratic delays in the program persist for up to a decade, students attending a school when the application was first submitted may never benefit from high-speed Internet access.
- Wasted Taxpayer Funds. Because of the cumbersome process, there is over $5 billion of taxpayer money in the E-Rate account sitting unused
- Private sector solutions. There are private sector programs connecting low-income households much more efficiently and at no cost to taxpayers. For example, in under two years Comcast’s Internet Essentials program has connected more than 900,000 low-income Americans to low cost high-speed Internet.
The Obama administration should focus on making government more efficient instead of tacking on yet another tax onto Americans’ cell phone bills.