Editorials

Hello? Hello? Did Springfield just hang up on us?

The Illinois General Assembly hid a provision to allow AT&T to end landline service within the 911 emergency telephone bill.
The Illinois General Assembly hid a provision to allow AT&T to end landline service within the 911 emergency telephone bill. bweisenstein@bnd.com

Among the recent indignities our Illinois state lawmakers visited upon us was this little tidbit that they weaseled into the 911 emergency telephone bill tax hike: AT&T can work towards eliminating your landline telephone service.

They say they don’t want to invest $200 to $300 million a year into the old technology when only 10 percent of Illinois customers have a landline anyway. They want their $1 billion invested in wireless, voice over internet and other newfangled technologies.

Well excuse all the old fuddy duddies who rely on their landlines. They still live out in the country. They still lose their cell phones. They still like being able to fine a handset that they know will deliver a clear message when they call an ambulance or the police for help.

Until the advanced 911 systems come online that will help with this transition, it is unclear why state lawmakers were in such a rush to pass this.

Other than the fact that it was easy to hide it within the legislature’s imperative to pass a 911 bill, hiking the monthly tax from 87 cents to $1.50, before that service ceased July 1. So much easier to do that than to take all those calls from AARP members who didn’t want to lose their landlines.

But then, they didn’t want their income taxes going up 32 percent, either.

  Comments