A View from Erika Jonietz

NY Drops the E911 Call

A New York state audit has revealed that very little of the $440 million the state has collected in E911 taxes since 1991 has actually gone to pay for the equipment that would make it possible for 911 dispatchers to…

  • May 11, 2004

A New York state audit has revealed that very little of the $440 million the state has collected in E911 taxes since 1991 has actually gone to pay for the equipment that would make it possible for 911 dispatchers to locate cell phone callers in emergencies. Instead, the New York Times reports, the money has paid for everything from dry cleaning for the state police to homeland security, a catch-all that in New York includes spending on prisons and state parks. In fact, only about 12 cents of the $1.20 monthly fee that cell phone subscribers pay goes toward its ostensible purpose of developing a cellular 911 system. Given this diversion of funds, its hardly surprising that, as the Times story says, despite years of work, only a few counties are currently able to locate cellphone callers who dial 911.Anyone shocked? Anyone care to take bets on what would be found in audits of similar tax programs in other states? Or of the federal E911 surcharge program?

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