Risky Bet

Risky Bet

Ask legislators to oppose allowing municipalities to gamble with taxpayer dollars.

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Overview

Local governments across North Carolina face an unprecedented fiscal shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many local governments are lobbying the state and federal government for a massive bailout using taxpayers’ dollars to refill their coffers. At the same time, they are advocating for the ability to install and maintain broadband infrastructure in hopes of leasing it to a private company.

Yes, instead of making strategic and prudent investments to safeguard against cuts to essential services like water and sewer infrastructure or public safety, the League of Municipalities is taking advantage of the pandemic to advocate for a policy with a proven track record of failure.

Their Bet

  • Would allow local governments to invest taxpayers’ without a vote of approval from the voters before installing and maintaining broadband infrastructure
  • Would allow local governments to increase taxes to finance the project when individuals and small business are trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic
  • Avoids safeguards of having an impartial entity, the Local Governments Commission, from evaluating the local governments’ finances to ensure financial security. Read The Full Article

Gambling with Taxpayers’ Money

“The costs of building out and maintaining broadband networks are considerable. It is not a fiscally sound use of scarce taxpayer dollars for governments to compete with billion-dollar networks already in existence.” Read The Full Article

“Generally, municipalities will not have sufficient scale to drive technology development, leverage costs, and provide the breadth of products needed in fast-changing communications markets.”

“Between the initial bond and the loan from the reserve, Salisbury borrowed around $40 million for Fibrant, and still owes about $32 million. That’s because revenue from Fibrant has been so meager that for many years Salisbury was just paying the interest on the loans and not the principal.”

If you build it, they WILL NOT come.

“When you look at Census data, the vast majority of the people that are not currently connected to the Internet aren’t connected because they don’t think that it’s relevant in their lives.”

“According to the most recent data collected in 2017, 22 percent of U.S. households—approximately 28 million households in total—did not use the Internet from home, with most citing either lack of interest or concern about price.”