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Illinois threatens satellite-tax

The State of Illinois in the US is contemplating levying a 5 per cent tax on satellite dishes as a method to fund more public works.

Lisa McCabe, senior director of the national Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association, said that while they had not yet seen the details of the proposed tax, any tax on satellite services would be unfair given that people who live in rural areas often have no cable supplier. “Satellite TV really fills a void there, providing entertainment and news.”

She added that there were some 1.3 million satellite subscribers in the state, or about one third of the pay-TV universe.

Illinois has a record of eyeing satellite services for special taxes. It has already looked at a 5 per cent satellite tax to help fund education services in the state, and a bill passed the state’s upper Senate but was not endorsed by the lower House and thus failed to make it into law.

Cable is already subject to a 5 per cent ‘franchise fee’ paid by cable companies to operate in the state.

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