It is time to examine why Wisconsin citizens are sold a bill of goods on the cable television issue while our neighbors to the south, Illinois, are getting a better deal.
Both state governments, Wisconsin and Illinois, are reviewing new legislation to deregulate cable television. The Illinois proposal is far better than the one in Wisconsin. Things to note about the issues and about both bills:
- Our state is renting out our property. This bill is about allowing the use of the public right of way. The proposal in the Wisconsin legislature rents our pubic right of way to these giant communication companies far cheaper than the charge in Illinois. If we are going to be sold out, why not make it for a fair price?
- The AT&T claim that 'competition' will lower cable bills by 28% is based on inconclusive data from Texas. It ignores the thousands of other communities and, more importantly, ignores the reality in which is there is no savings.
- For example, in Fairfax County, Virgina where Comcast, Cox, and Verizon compete, after one year, and the introductory offers have ended, rates are up 20%.
- The present Wisconsin system of local regulatory control is the rule, not the exception. In 60% of the states, the regulation ,which protects the consumer, is under local, not state control.
The bill in the Wisconsin legislature is really a business contract. It involves the sale of our assets. Illinois legislators, so far, are standing tough and negotiating on behalf of the people they represent.
You have to wonder why we Wisconsin taxpayers and property owners are so poorly served. Legislators who normally clamor about taxes have an opportunity to provide us with solid revenue from the rental of our public property. Instead, a majority of the Assembly, and fearfully, a majority of the Senate, appear to be determined to sell us out.
As difficult as it may be for some to believe, the Land of Lincoln is doing a better job of protecting consumers and the public treasury, than the land of LaFollette.