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Land Line Losses Cramp 9-1-1 Centers

Wed, 07 May 2014 17:20:24 CDT

As more people ditch their landline phones for cell phones 9-1-1 call centers are struggling to maintain services. That is because wireless phone lines in Illinois are often taxed at a lower rate than landlines. There is a push to change that. Some 9-1-1 call centers across the state have been unable to fill positions or update equipment because the 73 cent per line cell phone tax doesn't allow it. 9-1-1 center coordinators are sometimes turning to area municipalities, with mixed results. Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing says tight budget constraints mean cities cannot afford to help out.

Prussing wants the state to tax cell phones $1.50 each month, which is the same amount that landline customers pay in downstate Illinois. Prussing says other cities and dispatch centers are on board with her plan to raise the tax. She says she still has to persuade lawmakers.

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