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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has warned that multiple US states are using money designated for emergency services to fund other unrelated projects.
In a report released to the public earlier this week, America's comms regulator noted that at least $129m of the money gathered through the Emergency Telephone Users Surcharge Tax, better known as the 911 tax, has been spent elsewhere.
Surcharge - People - Phone - Bills - Emergency
This surcharge is tacked onto people's monthly phone bills – and is supposed to fund 911 emergency call services. However, that dosh is being diverted to other projects, effectively topping up other budgets, the FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau has found.
"The Bureau identified six states as diverting or transferring 911/E911 fees for purposes other than 911/E911," the report noted and then names names:
New - Jersey - West - Virginia - Portion
New Jersey and West Virginia used a portion of their 911/E911 funds to support non-911 related public safety programs. Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Rhode Island used a portion of their 911/E911 funds for either non-public safety or unspecified uses.
It doesn't stop there: New York refused to provide the FCC any data, so its the regulator's staffers dug into public records and concluded the state was also "diverting or transferring" money intended for emergency funds to other, unspecified projects.
Amount - Funds - Reporting - Jurisdictions - Calendar
"The total amount of 911/E911 funds diverted by all reporting jurisdictions in calendar year 2016 was $128,909,169, or approximately five percent of total 911/E911 fees collected," the report stated.
That may only be the tip if the iceberg too. Seven states refused to provide the FCC with any data on how much money it gathered through the tax or what it spent the money on. On top of which, figures compiled...
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