Christmas came early for Big Telecom this year. Along with the repeal of net neutrality by the Federal Communications Commission, these companies will also receive some of the biggest tax breaks under the new GOP legislation. Oh, and many of them are raising prices for customers too.
Republicans in Congress passed their first major piece of legislation this week: a massive overhaul of the tax code that will most likely be approved by the President by the end of the week. It’s already well-known that the wildly unpopular bill gives a much bigger break to the wealthy and corporations (as opposed to America’s lowest-income groups, who will see a less than half a percent tax break). But what might have been lost in the avalanche of coverage is the fact that some of the companies getting the biggest breaks are Big Telecom corporations.
AT&T, which currently has a tax rate of 32.7 percent, will see its tax rate drop to 21 percent under the new tax bill’s corporate tax maximum. Likewise, Verizon will see its tax rate drop from the current 35 percent. When you’re talking about multi-billion dollar companies, tax cuts of 12 or 14 percent equal a lot of dough.
Both AT&T and Verizon tried to spin their impending windfall by announcing they’ll give out $1,000 one-time bonuses to some of their employees, but that pales in comparison to the ton of money the corporations will get to keep. That said, the union representing AT&T’s employees told The Daily Beast that they were already in talks to give holidays bonuses this year. (Oh, and AT&T, at the same time, laid off hundreds of employees.)
Meanwhile, though it’s nice a few hundred thousand employees will get a little treat, consumers are getting hit, with multiple telecom companies announcing rate increases this week. A Comcast spokesperson told me on average, nationally, customer bills will increase by 2.2 percent next year. DirectTV has also announced price increases, and customers with Frontier and Dish have reported notices of increased rates, too.
Perhaps the idea is that you can take your 0.4 percent tax break and put it towards the 2 percent increase in your internet bill?