Senate Bill 1149 — Broadband, municipality powers

Senate Bill 1149 — Broadband, municipality powers

by
Parrish Miller
March 1, 2021
Parrish Miller
March 1, 2021

Bill Description: Senate Bill 1149 encourages and empowers municipalities to usurp and compete with the free market in providing broadband services. 

Rating: -4

Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board’s purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?

Senate Bill 1149 creates Section 50-346, Idaho Code, to grant municipalities "the express authority to establish, create, develop, acquire, finance, construct, equip, lease, own, maintain, and operate broadband communications infrastructure and systems."

The only role government should play in technology is getting out of the way. But instead of reducing the regulations, taxes, and fees that inhibit the free market, this bill encourages governments to acquire, finance, and own the technology developed by the market. 

(-1)

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

The entire premise of Senate Bill 1149 is to create and expand the role of government. Contrary to the claims of this bill, providing broadband services is not even remotely within the proper role of government. 

Lest there be any doubt of this bill's intention to increase the power of government, it contains a subsection that says each municipality shall have the power "to do all things necessary and convenient to carry out the purposes of this section."

(-1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

Obviously, it will cost money for a municipality to "establish, create, develop, acquire, finance, construct, equip, lease, own, maintain," or operate broadband communications infrastructure and systems. Instead of allowing private sector providers and customers to drive the development of this technology, this bill pushes the government to spend money usurping the role of the market. 

(-1)

Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?

Additionally the bill says each municipality shall have the power "to receive grants, private donations, state or federal dollars, or other revenues, including from private parties for broadband communications infrastructure and systems."

Some municipalities may choose to finance or incentivize a private broadband provider instead of fully owning broadband communications infrastructure and systems. Even that, however, constitutes an unacceptable redistribution of wealth. Government should not expend any dollars attempting to engage in central planning of what should be exclusively private sector activities. 

(-1)

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