Verizon: Never Stops Working You Over

NJ.com — Tuesday, March 15, 2011

By John D. Atlas / NJ Voices

This morning I got an email from New Jersey Citizen Action warning me about a change in the law that could dramatically increase my phone and cable services bill and my taxes. The email screamed, WE MUST STOP THE SENATE from passing the so called, "Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act" known as S2664/A3766!

Apparently the governor and our legislators, kowtowing to big corporate giants like Verizon, want to "deregulate." That got my attention because we all know what happened when we deregulated the banks and Wall Street.

Politicians love to attack big government. But what about big business, which is corrupting our political system at the expense of the rest of us?
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NJCA has been working hard to stop this bill from passing. It looks like you should too, especially if you, or your Mom, Dad, Grandfather or Grandmother are one of the 1.3 million residents who for decades use that phone on the kitchen wall and are on a fixed and low income. Their basic phone service is their only link to the outside world.

Without these lifelines, they can't call a doctor in an emergency, the pharmacy or loved ones. S2664's proponents want the public to believe that if a 75 year old grandmother loses this service or can no longer afford it because the rates have skyrocketed, the onus should be on her to shop the market—which likely doesn't exist for this service—or pay a higher unaffordable rate that will require her to sacrifice other necessities like food, medicine, heat and/or electricity.

According to Ev Liebman and Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, top staffers at NJCA, "This bill, rather than promoting fair and robust market place competition or supporting ...consumers, is a dangerous give-away to giant media corporations and phone companies that will hurt consumers and municipalities. S2664 also eliminates current legally-required services for municipalities.

This will increase costs for taxpayers because the bill will:

This legislation has been speedily moving through the Assembly. On Feb. 3 it was introduced and passed in Committee on the same day. The Assembly passed it 66-7 just 13 days later (2/17/11). In the Senate, it was introduced late on a Wednesday (1/25/11) and passed in Committee the following Monday (1/31/11). The Senate is scheduled to hear this bill on Monday, March 21st.

If you belong to a group that thinks this is wrong and you are willing to fight this, get in touch with the folks at NJCA.

If you have questions or concerns, you should contact Jackie Cornell-Bechelli, Political & Legislative Director via jackiec@njcitizenaction.org or 732-246-4772 ext 21.

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