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State Senator Admits Cable Industry Helped Write Pro-Industry Legislation 426

Posted by Soulskill
from the at-least-he's-honest dept.
jamie sends in news of comments by David Hoyle, a State Senator in North Carolina, about recently defeated legislation he sponsored that would have limited the ability of government to develop municipal broadband. Hoyle readily admitted that the cable industry had a hand in writing the bill. We discussed the cable industry's extensive lobbying efforts in that region last year. From the article: "The veteran state senator says cities should leave broadband to the cable companies. 'It's not fair for any government unit to compete with private enterprise,' he says. In the last legislative session Sen. Hoyle tried to put a moratorium on any more local governments expanding into municipal broadband. When the I-Team asked him if the cable industry drew up the bill, Senator Hoyle responded, 'Yes, along with my help.' When asked about criticism that he was 'carrying water' for the cable companies, Hoyle replied, 'I've carried more water than Gunga Din for the business community — the people who pay the taxes.'"
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State Senator Admits Cable Industry Helped Write Pro-Industry Legislation

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  • System is rotten (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:05PM (#33395304)

    If you don't like corruption in politics, then why do you keep voting for politicians? In the end, they are all the same. Power corrupts. There is no caveat to that axiom.

    If you want to get rid of the politicians, then check out what happens when you apply the principles of the free software movement to governance. [metagovernment.org]

  • I'm not sure..... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by moeluv (1785142) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:06PM (#33395316)
    If I were one of his constituents if I would be impressed with his candor or outraged at being sold out. That and I'm fairly certain citizens pay taxes as well.......
  • Where I live in Western Mass, I live in a city with municipal run power and our bill is always cheaper than the cities around us with the "business" run power.

    I'm very tempted to write up a proposal to have:

    1. City run cable business instead of Charter.
    2. City run municipal broadband.

    Wouldn't it be tons cheaper and better for the people of my town if the city could provide the sorta service this would require ? And new jobs would be created IN THE CITY...

    What a concept, huh ?

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:18PM (#33395500) Homepage Journal

    Apparently this guy has never heard of Exxon!

    Once any business gets large enough, they do creative accounting or move all their "official" offices offshore (do you kow how many businesses are incorporated in Bermuda as a tax haven?) to avoid taxes.

    http://blogs.forbes.com/energysource/2010/04/07/exxon-says-it-does-pay-u-s-income-taxes/ [forbes.com]

    If the USA could actually collect what it is owed by big business, we wouldn't *have* a national debt!

  • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:25PM (#33395606)

    Although I agree with what your saying in principal, the post office delivers a message thousands of miles for a few cents. It's also one of the few self-sufficient government organizations. There are times when the end does seem to justify the means.

    Were the government found to be gouging the taxpayer with unfair costs, then I would have an issue with this. Were the post office horribly inefficient, I would have issue with this.

    I don't think either of those describes the post office.

    It certainly drove them out of letter delivery business which is illegal for anybody other than the Post Office to do: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Postal_Service#Universal_Service_Obligation_and_monopoly_status [wikipedia.org] [wikipedia.org]

  • by magus_melchior (262681) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:37PM (#33395762) Journal

    The soundbite "corporations fund the government" is probably better expressed as "corporations contribute more than individuals to political campaigns"-- and with the Citizens United decision, corporations are poised to dump millions of dollars into campaigns this year, such as the recent $1 million donation by NewsCorp to the Republican gubernatorial fund. This gets the politicians' interests, not tax money-- taxes are what they use to piss off voters and get themselves re-elected, so they can cut more off the top rates. Democrats are especially clumsy at handling this because (1) they're just as complicit as Republicans in accepting corporate money-- though the corps are starting to abandon them; (2) Democrats, unlike Republicans, have never had a cohesive tax message (it is hard to beat "NO MOAR TAXES!"), and can get themselves in very hot water if they screw up planning or communication (case in point: Japanese PM Kan talking about raising the VAT in the fortnight before the Councilors' election; yes, he's Japanese, but the DPJ is largely cut from the same ideological cloth as the Third Way Democrats in the USA).

    Furthermore, the idea that individuals pay more than corporations can be a bit misleading, as there are many more individuals than corporations, and corporations pay a larger amount per return (at least, those who are honest). Still, the question of why government does the bidding of corporations when ordinary Joes pay more into the system is a valid one. This isn't a refutation of this part of your argument, by the way-- this is essentially what a pro-business conservative/libertarian would bring up.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sarhjinian (94086) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:40PM (#33395808)

    If you want to annoy a right winger, ask them why we don't privatize the military. They'll go on at length about all the horrible things government does, and how much better it would be if they didn't---except for the military. Funny how the idea of government educating people, or healing people, or employing people, or connecting people to the internet (in this case) is evil and wrong and immoral, but paying and arming a huge body of men and women for the express purposes of maiming, killing and/or oppressing people is perfectly ok by them.

    They'll also fail to notice how, unlike education or health care, the military gets funded well, regularly and uniformly at the federal level rather than through some horrific, balkanized, hamstrung funding structure. It's interesting how they do a good job, then, that the military does considering it's so well funded.

    I'm a full socialist, and I think the military does deserve the funding it gets, but I find the hypocrisy to be just a little bit galling.

  • by Americano (920576) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:46PM (#33395882)

    What city, specifically? Are they paying subisidies to the power companies to provide citizens with "cheap" energy?

  • Re:Wohoo! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:48PM (#33395910) Homepage

    It doesn't change that he is a complete and utter scumbag that is more damaging to the United states than the Taliban.

  • by rjstanford (69735) on Friday August 27, 2010 @02:55PM (#33395998) Homepage Journal

    And as a small business owner myself, I'd say that if corporations really weren't taxed at all that the number of not-really-a-company private-contractor corporations would balloon like crazy... and they're already pretty crazy. Of course, those aren't generally accessible to those at the lower end of the food chain (so to speak), so the rate at which the top few percent left the bottom 50% of the country behind would just grow even faster.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:11PM (#33396258) Homepage

    Problem is that the modern Democratic party has now shown us quite convincingly that even when campaigns are funded mostly by small individual citizen donations, they still rule for the benefit of corporations once they get into office (I'm looking squarely at you, Mr. Obama - you fucking disgrace).

    Yes and no. Obama's campaign started out funded significantly by small individual citizen donations, and more funded by smaller donations than either the Clinton or McCain campaigns, but as soon as it became clear he was going to win a lot of the big corporate donor types jumped in to fund him as well and effectively bought him off somewhere between the NH primary and the Democratic convention.

    Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, by contrast, was mostly funded by small individual citizen donations, but as soon as it became clear he was actually going to try to implement his policy proposals (like health care reform not written by insurance companies) his campaign was derailed by carefully applying sound editing to a campaign speech he made in Iowa to make it look like he was some sort of wild crazy man.

  • by spamking (967666) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:23PM (#33396428)

    No, they can't deliver standard first-class main. They can deliver stuff with "special" priority like "overnight".

    I know that they can't deliver first-class mail, but the general public can still choose to send a letter via FedEx or UPS if they want.

    And I know that they can't deliver to mailboxes.

    I was simply pointing out that the USPS isn't the only option available for sending stuff.

  • by jfoust2 (43840) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:38PM (#33396636) Homepage

    Here in Wisconsin, two years ago ATT came to the Capitol with more than a dozen lobbyists and started handing out campaign contributions. They picked a conservative Democrat and a Republican from the Senate and Assembly who would play ball. They handed them a "bill mill" draft of how they'd like to revamp Wisconsin's cable television laws. They did not invite anyone else to the meetings. They didn't invite the over-the-air broadcasters, they didn't invite the cable industry, they didn't invite the community television stations. They listened to ATT. They removed local city control and oversight of cable franchises and replaced it with a state-level franchise system with little to no oversight. They assigned minimal regulatory powers to the department of financial institutions - not the existing Public Service Commission that handles all other telecom. The only powers they assigned were to accept the annual $5,000 franchise application. They were not given any powers to reject any applications. They sunset the ability of cities to assign a surcharge on bills to fund their community television operations. All this, in the name of allowing ATT to be able to cherry-pick which neighborhoods would get U-Verse, without having to offer it to entire communities.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:38PM (#33396638) Homepage Journal

    The business community pays most taxes? Odd, Kodak and IBM haven't paid any federal income tax in decades. Most corporations get off scott-free when it comes to taxes. This guy's probably a Republican, who thinks "the company pays the employees who pay the taxes, therefore the employee's taxes are baid by the company". It's bullshit, but that's how right wingers think.

  • by DamienRBlack (1165691) on Friday August 27, 2010 @03:58PM (#33396926)
    You can't send stuff at a "normal" priority. If UPS accepted a letter (as opposed to a package) saying it'll be there in a few days they would get sued. Private companies can only deliver letters when they are doing it at a time-frame USPS can't match.
  • FAIL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by spun (1352) <loverevolutionar ... m ['hoo' in gap]> on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:07PM (#33397034) Journal

    In the first one, the Democrat was named but her 14 cosigners were not. Many were Republicans.

    In the second case, there was no malfeasance by Alan Grayson.

    In the third case, again, no malfeasance.

    In the last case, we have a legitimately bad law proposed by a Democrat.

    Congratulations! Your job is now half done. All you have to do is show a similar story where a Republican's affiliation is mentioned. Otherwise, all we have is evidence that Slashdot does not usually name anyone's party affiliation.

  • Re:FAIL (Score:3, Interesting)

    by XanC (644172) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:15PM (#33397128)

    "Malfeasance" was obviously not meant in the strict dictionary sense; it's in the sense of anything stupid that Slashdot is posting to be scared of and/or laugh about.

    You lose, sorry; you can quit moving the goalposts now.

  • by Firefly1985 (1862180) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:16PM (#33397156)
    Isn't the real problem that a State Senator wants to take away the right of municipal governments to decide for themselves if they want to get into the broadband business or not? Surely the residents of a particular locality should be the ones deciding this on a case by case basis, not someone in the state senate.
  • by hierofalcon (1233282) on Friday August 27, 2010 @04:31PM (#33397390)

    If there were only one vendor for each item that would be true. However when you have multiple competing vendors trying to get business and everybody sees the same relative drop in expenses, there is likely to be a passing on of some of the savings in each cycle of the food chain unless there is collusion between the vendors (as is sometimes the case). There is almost always somebody who wants the business and is willing to give up some of their now slightly larger profit to get it. This repeats until a new equilibrium is reached at a probably lower level.

    I used shoes in a different comment. I just bought some shoes at WalMart for $18. Several years ago, they would have been $60 or so. Why the drop? Lower manufacturing costs and lower material prices offset the increased cost of transporting the product from overseas. Why didn't the price stay at $60 to use your argument and the companies pocket the difference? Because various manufacturers wanted the business of WalMart and were willing to drop their wholesale cost closer to their cost of production. Dropping taxes lowers the cost of production just like lowering labor costs. No effect like that is immediate, but over time it does happen.

  • Re:Who pays taxes? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 2010 @05:15PM (#33397984)

    Unfortunately, the world you're describing doesn't exist. Many businesses aren't putting money into their constituent's pockets and economies- they're offshoring and outsourcing so they can maximize their profits. This is more often than not at the expense of the people that are actually shouldering the taxes in the first place.

  • Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b4upoo (166390) on Friday August 27, 2010 @06:01PM (#33398498)

    Cities and counties often give exclusives to cable companies causing death off all competition. Since cities will not allow dozens of companies to be available to every address it is fair enough that cities provide free net services.

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