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Fairpoint Sues New Hampshire Towns Over Pole Tax
Insists Paying Property Taxes Unconstitutional
by Karl Bode 09:46AM Monday Oct 15 2012
Until last year, telephone poles and conduits across New Hampshire were exempt from local property taxes -- while identical poles and conduits owned by electric utilities were taxed. The tax exemptions for telcos were originally doled out to help spur deployment of services, something locals say regional incumbents Verizon, and now Fairpoint, consistently failed at. As a result, when the tax exemption ran out in July 2010, the state voted not to reinstate it. Fairpoint Communications is now suing 100 communities, claiming that the taxes they'll have to pay on the poles are unconstitutional and akin to double taxation:
quote:
FairPoint's contention has always been that since the company pays the state's telecommunications tax, allowing its poles to also be taxed by communities constitutes double taxation. However, proponents of the exemption repeal contend that since electric utility poles were already being taxed by communities, it is unfair not to allow them to tax FairPoint's poles.
Fairpoint has already gotten regulatory approval to pass the cost of the taxes on to customers if their lawsuit fails.

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meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

Double taxed?

Has Fairpoint taken a look at how alcohol, tires, gasoline, tobacco are taxed? Double taxed would be a BREAK!!
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06

Re: Double taxed?

Add pole tax to the list, because it's customers who will be paying. Might hurt Fairpoint's business a little, but it's really just a backdoor tax on New Hampshire residents.

marigolds
Gainfully employed, finally
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-13
Saint Louis, MO
kudos:2

Re: Double taxed?

said by Wilsdom:

Add pole tax to the list, because it's customers who will be paying. Might hurt Fairpoint's business a little, but it's really just a backdoor tax on New Hampshire residents.

No, it's actually their customers' employers who are being taxed.
No wait, it's their customers' employers' customers. No wait, that's wrong too. It's their customers' employers' customers' employers. That's it. No wait....
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jfleni

@bhn.net
It the state's own fault. When Verizon wanted to abandon the lines, I urged NH citizens and the state to reject the sale (which they had the power to do), and eventually take over whatever abandoned property -- phone lines -- VZ left behind by eminent domain.

Everyone acted as if old Vladmir Lenin himself had come back to the White Mountains. Live free or get f***ed you fools!
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

If I Had a Nickel...

for every time I was double-taxed...

My favorite is Missouri's personal property tax. I just bought a new vehicle in June and the net price I paid to the dealer was $34K. I had to pay ~$2,800 (~8%) in sales taxes AND I have to declare the vehicle as personal property. The personal property taxes will cost me ~$500/$600 a year. I have to pay to buy it and I have to pay every year I own it.

Welcome to the club Fairpoint!
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2

Re: If I Had a Nickel...

Yep, Virginia did that to me with my 6-yr old truck that wasn't purchased or even registered in the state. I just happened to live there for a few years.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: If I Had a Nickel...

Did you have to buy a city parking sticker or something? If not and you didn't license it in the state (assuming that's what you meant by register), how did they know? Do they have an enforcer trolling the neighborhood logging out-of-state plates and after they see the same plate for so long, they send a bill?

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: If I Had a Nickel...

said by rradina:

Did you have to buy a city parking sticker or something? If not and you didn't license it in the state (assuming that's what you meant by register), how did they know? Do they have an enforcer trolling the neighborhood logging out-of-state plates and after they see the same plate for so long, they send a bill?

Would not surprise me. D.C. does. Considering the constant tension between D.C., MD, and VA's agencies, it would not surprise me one bit to learn that Virginia does it. In D.C., if your car is spotted more than once in a 180-day period, a nice notice is left on your car to get registered, get a R.O.S.A. exemption, get one of two 15-day visitor parking permits (only 2 max per year), or get out.
rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO

Re: If I Had a Nickel...

And the cost of this enforcement is outweighed by the tax revenue it generates? If camera's are doing the work in an Orwellian fashion, I can see it more than paying for itself. However, if some Joe's specific job is to catalog and determine violations, I'd have to see the numbers to understand how that's a good use of tax dollars. It seems more efficient to drop the personal property tax and get the revenue somewhere else that's easily deterministic and doesn't require enforcement trolls.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

Re: If I Had a Nickel...

said by rradina:

And the cost of this enforcement is outweighed by the tax revenue it generates? If camera's are doing the work in an Orwellian fashion, I can see it more than paying for itself. However, if some Joe's specific job is to catalog and determine violations, I'd have to see the numbers to understand how that's a good use of tax dollars. It seems more efficient to drop the personal property tax and get the revenue somewhere else that's easily deterministic and doesn't require enforcement trolls.

Don't see me arguing. Want to see it in action? Walk through Georgetown on a Saturday if you're ever in D.C..
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
Germany
kudos:2
I'm guessing it was because I owned a house. All kinds of information becomes available when one purchases real property. My truck was purchased in NE and tagged in FL, yet VA kept hitting me up for personal property taxes.

PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD
said by openbox9:

Yep, Virginia did that to me with my 6-yr old truck that wasn't purchased or even registered in the state. I just happened to live there for a few years.

Beat me to the mention of Virginia. I don't live there but I'm in the broadcast range of WTOP FM and heard nothing but advertisements regarding personal property taxes for roughly a month.

David
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said by rradina:

My favorite is Missouri's personal property tax. I just bought a new vehicle in June and the net price I paid to the dealer was $34K. I had to pay ~$2,800 (~8%) in sales taxes AND I have to declare the vehicle as personal property. The personal property taxes will cost me ~$500/$600 a year. I have to pay to buy it and I have to pay every year I own it.

I don't miss that moving to illinois. I just now pay non resident taxes which always seem to net me a credit from IL every year.
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morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000
Reviews:
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Verizon's shameful legacy continues

This is sad but the inevitable result of Verizon's decision to off-load aging, rural networks using the Reverse Morris tax loophole. The end result is that these companies are destined to fail over the next decade with Verizon readying to rush in with LTE wireless services as the businesses fail.

In the meantime, the customers will pay more, get less, and suffer poor service as the companies fail. If you aren't a customer of Fairpoint, why should you care? Verizon's tax evasion technique resulted in a huge, undeserved federal tax writeoff. Win win for Verizon. Lose lose for everyone else.

OSUGoose

join:2007-12-27
Columbus, OH

Thats the problem

"Fairpoint has already gotten regulatory approval to pass the cost of the taxes on to customers if their lawsuit fails."

The regulators needed to say no, you have to eat this.

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
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join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
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Re: Thats the problem

said by OSUGoose:

"Fairpoint has already gotten regulatory approval to pass the cost of the taxes on to customers if their lawsuit fails."

The regulators needed to say no, you have to eat this.

The regulatory permission was just a pro forma(?) way to itemize the tax on the customer bill. Otherwise they would just have hidden it in a general price hike.
--
Norman
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lgk1

@icentrix.com

i already dumped them

Their service sucks. was paying over 200 a month for a business connections and it was dropping packets left and right.. Dump them years ago.. they can bite my big one.. I have comcast for business internet now.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

As much Karl likes to complain...

FairPoint has actually invested in their network in New Hampshire. They have taken Verizon's tired old DSL network and upgraded to ADSL 2+, and unlike AT&T who just did it for cost and distance, FairPoint is pushing 15mbps out to some customers.

Also, they put in more RTs to serve more customers. They are even serving islands in the big lake. Islands. Yes, they added service to islands. Ok, it's not that hard considering the lines have been on the bottom of the lake since the '50s, and aggregated into a couple of crossings perfect for a fiber-fed RT, but still, they did the RT upgrades needed to get the service out there.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
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the solution at hand...

you KNOW the damned solution NH wants.. run fiber on the poles and offer FTTP at a reasonable price, and they can keep their tax break... if not... pay up... as everyone else does.. and if they pass it onto consumers instead of chopping it off profits, the PUC can do some nasty fining of the company for poor copper performance.. so, either do the state's bidding or suffer the consequences of doing business. telecom may want it to be a "FREE" market.. but the tax man has the stick and carrot of regulation when it comes to copper twist pair.. tis better in the long run to upgrade and get a 10 year exemption, rather than pay the tax.

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
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New Hampshire taxes

New Hampshire does not have a sales tax or income tax so their state, county, and municipal governments rely heavily on property taxes to stay afloat.

I do try to make major purchases in New Hampshire to avoid the Massachusetts 6.25 percent sales tax. I bought my most recent MacBook Pro at a Best Buy in New Hampshire. Saved about $60 by doing so. And that Best Buy is twice the size as the one I usually shop at and is basically a flagship store.

New Hampshire has some beautiful malls up there, not like the retail slums in Mass (as we lose a lot of retail sales in Mass by people going to New Hampshire to shop to avoid the sales tax). The only downside is home delivered items like large appliances as they have to charge the sales tax where the item is delivered, not where it is purchased.
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