Telecoms to fight Patrick tax proposal

By Peter J. Howe, Globe Staff | February 24, 2007

Chronic bitter enemies -- cable television and telephone companies -- yesterday found something they could agree on: Both industries hate Governor Deval L. Patrick's plans to hit them with an estimated $78 million in new local property taxes as part of Patrick's crackdown on alleged corporate tax loopholes.

Telecom companies and industry trade groups are gearing up to try to block Patrick's proposal to repeal a state law dating to 1915 that exempts telecommunications companies from paying local taxes on their poles, wires, and other network equipment placed along municipal streets.

Patrick said it made no sense that in some municipalities electric companies pay local taxes on wires and gear that are installed on the same telephone poles as telecom equipment. In communities where Verizon Communications Inc. jointly owns poles with either NStar or National Grid Group PLC, the electric company pays tax on its half of the pole, but Verizon doesn't.

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