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Walczyk leads efforts to expand rural internet access

Legislation, letter, advocacy: All to simply allow people to stream netflix 

Click PDF to see the bipartisan coalition letter Assemblyman Walczyk penned to the Governor:

Senators: Ritchie, Little, Griffo

Assemblymembers: Barclay, Blankenbush, Smullen, Stec, Jones

State Assemblyman Mark Walczyk and State Senator Pam Helming announced Wednesday, August 19th, they have introduced legislation that aims to claw back an Albany tax that is restricting the expansion of broadband across the state.


The legislation (A.10932/S.8858) would repeal parts of the highway and transportation law that established an “Use and Occupancy” fee.  This right-of-way-tax allows the state to charge a tax for broadband projects that run along a state-owned roadway.  As a result of this tax, a number of broadband expansion projects have had to slam on the breaks due to the extra cost.    


“You want to reverse 'brain drain' from Northern New York? You interested in seeing more businesses and people innovate and thrive here? Start by removing hurdles for people who want to watch Netflix and empower rural businesses to access high speed internet," said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk.  “The state made a commitment to expand broadband throughout underserved parts of New York and this fee is in direct conflict with that policy.  I’ll be pushing for this bill alongside Senator Helming to get rid of this ridiculous tax and help drive high speed internet to those who need it most.”


"At a time when more and more of us are relying on broadband to work remotely, help kids learn from home, or connect with our medical providers, politicians in Albany are finding new and even more destructive ways to make the internet more expensive. This is already hampering broadband expansion in the North Country.  We should be encouraging the expansion of affordable and reliable broadband everywhere in our state. Now is not the time to hit the PAUSE button on expansion and risk the loss of even more job opportunities. I am proud to stand with Assemblyman Walczyk in the fight to defend hardworking taxpayers, farmers and small business owners here and across our state” said Helming.


This legislation is the latest effort by Assemblyman Mark Walczyk to push back against this tax on broadband expansion.  Earlier this year, Assemblyman Walczyk helped lead a bipartisan coalition of state lawmakers and sent a letter to the Governor, calling on him to reconsider and waive this right-of-way tax.  A copy of the letter is attached.                

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