County Governments Lobby for $20 Million Fee Increase

The Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) will lobby for a fee increase on cell phone user for 911 emergency response services during the 2019 legislative session. They are proposing to at least double the 65 cent-per-month fee on cell phone users. They claim this is their “top priority” for the next session.

The result would be a $20 million per year fee increase. AAC claims if they raise fees at the state level they may be able to get more federal tax dollars. This is known as the “Matching Principle”, a leading method for growing government.

The AAC successfully captured four joint legislative committees and tried to scare them into supporting their $20 million fee increase. They played a 911 call in which a frantic spouse was calling into the 911 system to report her husbands heart attack. Then followed a second call stating the first responders were having trouble finding them. The spouse was then able to call and give more precise directions.

There was no reported discussion on how to prioritize 911 funding from existing revenue rather than raising fees.

This is the most recent attempt of the AAC to use taxpayer money to lobby for tax increases. In the 2017 legislative session the AAC lobbied hard for the Internet Sales Tax. They also initially opposed the Special Election Reform bill which would avoid low-turnout, tax raising special elections not on standard election days. They dropped their opposition in exchange for a promise for better voting machines at a future date.

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