We reported yesterday the death of the TIF tax in Texas. We rejoiced too soon. Reporters at the Lone Star Report found out AT&T plans to continue collecting the tax until December! A tax that lawmakers killed in early 2007, was signed by the governor in June 2007, slated to die Sept. 1, 2008, but AT&T will keep taking it until December. What’s their excuse?

The Lone Star Report asked AT&T.

“Because of the way our billing system is set up, there is a lag between what we have paid the state and what we collect monthly from customers,” said A.T.&T. spokesman Kerry Hibbs. “We are briefly continuing the surcharge to recoup the difference. On a typical bill of $50, the TIF surcharge is 63 cents.” Hibbs added that “[s]ome bills printed in November will still show up in December, depending on the customer’s billing cycle.”

At the press conference, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said, when asked by the press about the TIF’s afterlife at AT&T, “It was our intent for all of that TIF charge to be eliminated Sept. 1 of this year.”

Remember: AT&T is the same company that advertises itself as a high-tech leader, and yet their “billing system” cannot be programmed to stop collecting a tax? They have a “lag”?

They seem to be able to ratchet UP my bill fairly easily, and seem more than eager to add fees and surcharges without a moment of hesitation when adding services. But take one off…? Well, there’s just too much of a “billing system” “lag” to do that.

For what it’s worth, the Lone Star Report found out from Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s office that they are “not aware of any other companies that are charging TIF fees after Sept. 30.”

Wonder if AT&T will mind if a few of us have a “lag” in our billing systems…

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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