Heritage Foundation on Technology



Cut Lifeline low-income broadband subsidies

Opposing argument: (Heritage Budget Book, "Cut Universal Service Subsidies"): Heritage Recommendation: Eliminate telecommunications subsidies for rural areas, phase out the schools and libraries subsidy program, and reduce spending on the Lifeline program by reducing fraud and waste.

Although this proposal will have no impact on the budget deficit, it will save taxpayers approximately $9.3 billion annually, and $92.7 billion in taxes and fees over 10 years, since these programs are supported by fees.

The "Lifeline" fund provides discounted phone service and equipment to low-income Americans. While well-intended, the program has been plagued by fraud and abuse, as costs tripled from under $600 million in 2001 to almost $1.8 billion in the 2013 funding year.2

Source: Heritage Action 2017 voting recommendation on Lifeline , Feb 10, 2017

FHA highway funds are skewed because strings are attached

FHA data suggests that, in 2012, only four states--Arizona, South Carolina, Texas and Utah--got back less than $1 for highway funding for every $1 the state's residents paid in federal highway gasoline taxes. So why complain?

Proponents of the Transportation Empowerment Act, such as the conservative Heritage Foundation, argue that the return-on-investment data from the FHA is skewed because the federal money comes with strings attached, namely requirements to pay laborers locally prevailing wages and to comply with federal environmental impact laws. Some conservatives argue such requirements add undue costs to projects, although the degree is a matter of some debate.

The federal dollars also "cannot be used for routine maintenance such as filling potholes or removing snow." Land's ad specifically shows images of potholes, and it's true that the state cannot spend federal money to fix them. Every state tacks on its own gasoline tax, which can be used on routine maintenance.

Source: FactCheck.org PacWatch on 2014 Michigan Senate debate , Aug 29, 2014

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Page last updated: Apr 30, 2021