Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

March 26, 2013

CONFER: Stop the satellite TV tax

Niagara Gazette — Last month, our satellite television provider announced a significant price increase that approached 10 percent. The wife and I weighed our options and dropped our subscription package down a notch to the least expensive one available. Versus the plan we were in, the new one will save us $30 a month. That’s $30 that we can spend on our toddling daughter’s ever-growing appetite and wardrobe.

Or so we thought.

Our $30 might be shrinking.

Within two weeks of our decision, we got word that Albany, courtesy of Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), was pondering the addition of an excise tax on direct broadcast satellite services. This would not be limited to television; it would also include Internet and games — in essence, all products provided to customers from the likes of Dish Network and Direct TV.

This new tax isn’t trivial. At 5 percent, it adds up in a hurry. The average monthly pay-TV bill is $86, a number that the NPD Group (a market research firm) figures will reach $200 per household by 2020. So if the tax were to go into effect today, you’d be paying an extra $52 per year to state coffers. Seven years down the road, you’d be paying Albany $120 annually just to watch TV.

The reason behind this proposed fee can cause one to believe that Senator Parker must have some friends in the cable industry. He states this surcharge is needed to level the playing field by forcing satellite companies (in reality, their customers) to pay a government-specific fee commensurate with that levied against cable companies. Since the dawn of pay-TV, cable bills have been saddled with a tax approaching 5 percent. In the case of cable, this actually makes sense. The tax in question is a franchise fee through which the cable companies compensate the host communities for use of public land, rights-of-way and public infrastructure.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug 040214 CONFER: Tax refunds are no reason to be happy A strange thing tends to happen this time of year: taxpayers who should be damning the government end up praising it. These brainwashed souls, numbering in the millions, feel rewarded by what appears to be government benevolence in the form of a tax refund, failing to realize that they are getting back only a little of the money that was rightfully theirs to begin with.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Russia on the right side of Crimea issue I don't like Russia. Never have. Probably never will.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: State's foot-dragging aggravates our energy woes I don't have to tell you that it's been a miserable winter in the northeast. We've been battered by an array of winter storms, from Polar Vortices to blizzards, and a seemingly endless barrage of below-average temperatures.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Veterans tax exemptions making school boards uneasy School boards eyeing the new, optional veterans tax exemption in New York State face perilous choices: Who do you please? Who do you offend? Veterans or the majority of taxpayers?

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug [Duplicate] CONFER: The importance of Boy Scouts in America What do Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, and William DeVries have in common?

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • • Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Move New York's primaries to June In 2009, the federal government passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandated that the states have federal absentee ballots in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election, to ensure that their completed ballots could be received by local boards of elections in a timely fashion.

    February 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: New York state could soon tax the scouts These are interesting times in New York, as we have a governor and a state legislature touting various reform packages that are expected to drop some tax rates after years of steady tax growth. It comes at a time when those same parties are testing the waters for even more public services such as universal pre-kindergarten.

    February 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: State bill would mandate parenting classes S142-2013, under review by the state Senate education committee now, would require parents of elementary school age children to attend parent support programs and workshops, including one concerning abuse in its various forms. If they didn't, their kids wouldn't be allowed to enter seventh grade.

    January 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: Opening the gates to Common Core For many, Bill Gates â€" he of the $67 billion net worth â€" is looked at as a hero for American education. Through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has invested millions in the development and introduction of the Common Core standards, the latest and allegedly greatest remodeling of teaching as we knew it.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page