The rhetoric is flying fast and furious tonight about the upcoming Measure ‘U’ ordinance vote. This is the one that will authorize our city council to make changes in the current Utility Users Tax.
The received opinion is that this vote will only “modernize” the old tax and bring it up to date with current technology. We’ve just heard Dave Golonski make this point tonight– it’s evidently become their mantra.
But as we pointed out earlier, a “yes” vote can do much, much more than this. The ordinance– if approved– will dramatically expand the application of the city’s current utility tax.
The current utility tax can already be applied to cell phones, text messages, video chat, internet phone, satellite phone via the internet, i.e., the works. Even data transmissions back and forth.
What the current tax cannot be applied to is non-personal, non-back and forth communications. The revision makes a radical change in this old, restricted definition, to the point where the new UUT can be applied to any kind of point-to-point electronic communications technology. That’s how radically it’s been re-written.
This includes the internet, both cable and wireless, as well as landline and wireless cable TV, including satellite transmissions. There’s plenty of room in the new language.
They don’t want to talk about this huge change in the law, but it’s true. And they want you to approve it ASAP.
The only thing that would be in the way of new taxes for Burbank are certain state or federal laws that prevent cities from applying their UUTs to specific applications. But those laws can always change in the future– and probably will.