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Article posted: 12/10/2012 5:00 AM

Satellite TV tax needed for schools

In response to your editorial on Nov. 29, we write to support House Bill 5440, as amended by Senate Floor Amendment 2, because of the educational benefits it brings and the fairness it provides. The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition has a strong commitment to education in Illinois, particularly as it relates to science, technology and workforce development.

HB 5440, the Direct Broadcast Satellite Service Providers Fee Act, provides generous support to elementary and secondary education in Illinois by depositing revenues received from the act into the Education Assistance Fund. This fund supports myriad educational opportunities throughout the state, especially in disadvantaged communities and for students most in need. The bill helps to level the educational playing field while also leveling the corporate tax playing field. Cable companies and satellite companies do not currently pay the same tax rates, while providing essentially the same services to consumers. This act brings the tax burden of satellite companies in line with those of what cable companies have been paying for years -- and it does so to the benefit of education in our state.

At a time when government fees and policies significantly affect the fast-changing world of technology, it is critical that fair and reasonable rules are established that do not favor one segment of a technology industry over another. We support this bill because it provides necessary supports to elementary and secondary education, because it serves students who are most in need, and because it provides a fair revenue stream for our state. The approximately $75 million in new revenue raised through HB 5440 will help to improve Illinois' educational systems, which is what counts the most in our knowledge-based global economy.

Edward "Ted" Fetters

Managing director

Illinois Science & Technology Coalition

Chicago

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