DBS attacks Arizona tax


The satellite-TV industry is fighting a proposed Arizona measure that
would levy a 5 percent "transaction-privilege tax" on direct-broadcast satellite customers.

In a letter to Arizona state representatives, the Satellite Broadcasting and
Communications Association called the tax, which is supported by the cable
industry, anti-competitive and discriminatory.

"This legislation ... seeks to use Arizona tax policy to shore up cable's
falling market share by taxing only consumers who have abandoned cable for the
superior quality, choice, service and digital signal provided by satellite,"
the SBCA wrote.

While cable license fees make sense, the SBCA said, because cable systems
have been granted monopolies that use public rights-of-way, DBS
"uses virtually no
local services and does not burden the state or local infrastructure."

The group also said the tax would place an unjust burden on residents of less
populated rural areas -- where a higher proportion of DBS customers live --
because proceeds would be distributed according to population.