from the states-needed-help-too dept.
Two members of the Federal Communications Commission want to stop states from using 911 funds to pay for other government services or equipment.
"On our individual phone bills, a line item is typically included for 911 service," FCC Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in an op-ed for The Hill today. It's a relatively small fee that states and localities charge to support emergency calling services. But too many states are stealing these funds and using them for other purposes, like filling budget gaps, purchasing vehicles, or worse."
The FCC's latest annual report on 911 fees, covering calendar year 2016, said that New Mexico, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and West Virginia "diverted" 911 funds totaling $128.9 million.
Besides those five states, "another seven didn't even bother to respond to our inquiry to examine their diversion practices," O'Rielly and Rosenworcel wrote. "None of this is acceptable."
New York is one state that did not submit a report for the FCC's data collection, "but sufficient public record information exists to support a finding that New York diverted funds for non-public safety uses," the FCC report said.