911 surcharge legislation introduced in Assembly
Assemblyman Michael J. Norris joined fellow assemblymen in introducing legislation that would force New York to reinvest in local emergency management operations across the state.
It had been reported that New York state collects more than $180 million annually through its monthly surcharge of $1.20 on cell phone bills — dollars that are intended to be reinvested back into local emergency management services. However, the state diverts nearly 42 percent of the revenue to its general fund. Only $10 million of the $185 million New York state collected from the fees last year went to 911 call centers.
Norris, who attended the meeting at the Niagara County Emergency Management Office, heard the concerns and worked to co-sponsor legislation that would remove the ability of the state to decide how wireless surcharge funds are allocated and would ensure local governments receive the funds necessary to upgrade 911 call centers.
“Due to the diversion of these funds, local governments are forced to raise property and/or sales taxes or fees to cover for Albany's misdirecting of public safety communications surcharge funds,” said Norris. “This legislation forces the state to invest these funds into local and state emergency management services and prevents the sweeping of these funds into the state general fund.”