January 16, 2007

$83 Billion? WTF?!?!

Did you know that there is $83 billion sitting in a fund controlled by the State of Texas? Apparently, there is...

The Texas Universal Service Fund has collected so much money, in fact, that it has a surplus of $83 billion, prompting the state's Public Utility Commission to lower the fees' rate from 5.65 percent to 5 percent fees.

This is fund that we all pay into every time we pay our phone bills. Ostensibly, it's to subsidize phone service for rural Texans (as well as those with low incomes and the disabled) so that they pay about the same (or lower) cost for phone service as urban and suburban customers. Obviously, we're paying too much if the fund has accumulated $83 billion at a time when less and less of the state is rural.

So how about it, Lege? Why not take down the percentage to a much lower level and then use the surplus in the fund to take care of transportation, with the balance going to build schools and reinforce the employee's pension systems (Teachers and Public Employees)? Seems like that would be a far better use than letting it sit in a fund, unused.

If we're serious about boosting the economy and getting it ready for the 21st century, spending this money on education, infrastructure and pensions would be an excellent first step.

Posted by mcblogger at January 16, 2007 10:46 AM

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