SPONSOR:   

Rep. Scott & Sen. McDowell

 

Rep. Viola; Sen. Bushweller

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

147th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 6

 

 

RE-ESTABLISHING A COMMUNICATIONS TAX REVIEW GROUP TO STUDY AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING DELAWARE'S TAX LAWS APPLICABLE TO COMMUNICATIONS PROVIDERS.

 


 


WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution No. 3, passed by the 146th General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor on July 5, 2011, established a Communications Tax Review Group for the purpose of studying and making recommendations for improving Delaware’s tax laws applicable to communications providers; and

                WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution No. 13, passed by the 146th General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor on June 5, 2012, extended the date for a final report and added 2 new members to the study group; and

WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution No. 13 required a report to the House of Representatives on or before May 1, 2013, and such date has proved to be impracticable; and

                WHEREAS, the quality of the data and analysis provided by the Communications Tax Review Group would be improved by additional time to complete the report;

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the 147th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, the Senate concurring therein, with the approval of the Governor, that a Communications Tax Review Group be re-established for the purpose of studying and making recommendations for improving Delaware's tax laws applicable to communications providers and encouraging investment in broadband networks.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Review Group shall report to the House of Representatives by May 1, 2014, or earlier if appropriate, on the following subjects:

                Special Betterments Property Tax (Chapter 81, Title 9 of the Delaware Code);

                Excise Tax (Chapter 55, Title 30 of the Delaware Code); and

                Cable television franchise fees.

1. The report shall examine the feasibility and fiscal implications on affected governmental entities or political subdivisions of a modernized, competitively neutral tax system that encourages investment in broadband networks and eliminates the disparate tax treatments of like communications providers.

2. The report shall also recommend methods to centralize the assessment, collection and administration of county and municipal property taxes as they apply to real property that is unique to the communications industry and study the need for regularly scheduled appraisals of such real property and alternative valuation methods.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chair of the Review Group shall be a member of the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House and, in addition to its chair, the Review Group shall have the following members:

1. One member of the House Telecommunications, Internet and Technology Committee, appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives:

2. One member of the Senate, appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate;

3. The Secretary of Finance or his designee;

4. The Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office or his designee;

5. One representative from each of the three Counties in the State, appointed by the chief executive officer of each county;

6. Two representatives from local governments, appointed by the Chair; and

7. One representative from the school districts.

8. One representative from each of the following communications carriers, appointed by the Chair:

                Local exchange;

                Cable television;

                Satellite; and

                Wireless.

BE IT FURTHER REVOLVED that the Chair of the Review Group be responsible for guiding the administration of the Review Group by, at a minimum:

1. Setting dates, times and places for meetings;

2. Supervising the preparation and distribution of meeting notices, agendas, minutes, correspondence, and reports of the Review Group; and

3. Ensuring that the final report of the Review Group is submitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate with a copy to the Governor, the Director of the Division of Research of Legislative Council and the Delaware Public Archives.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that staff support for the Review Group be provided by the Controller General's Office and the Office of the Secretary of Finance, under the direction of the Chair of the Review Group.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in order to evaluate the revenue impacts of such proposal, if necessary, the Department of Finance is directed to collect information from municipalities, counties, and any other relevant agencies including itself, to determine the amount of revenue collected and remitted to the respective governments from all current taxes and fees on communications services for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2012. The Department of Finance also may collect information from communications service providers about the amount of revenue paid or collected and remitted to governments from all communications taxes and fees for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2011and ending June 30, 2012. Subject to the restrictions provided by § 368 of Title 30 of the Delaware Code, the Department of Finance shall provide the information collected under this section to the Review Group immediately upon receipt, prior to September 15, 2013.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the information collected from communications service providers shall not be disclosed to the public unless it is aggregated so that market share and other sensitive market information for individual companies cannot be determined.  Information not so aggregated or other individual company information is not subject to disclosure.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the governmental entities, agencies and communications providers shall cooperate reasonably with the Department of Finance's information gathering under this resolution. The Department shall have the authority to subpoena any entity, agency or communications provider that fails or refuses to cooperate reasonably with the Department's information gathering.


SYNOPSIS

This House Joint Resolution re-establishes a Communications Tax Review Group to study and make recommendations for  a modernized, competitively neutral tax system that encourages investment in broadband networks and eliminates the disparate tax treatments of like communications providers.