As anyone will know, well at least those of you who actually look at their telephone bills, there is always a nice little line item called 9-1-1 Emergency Fees that we all pay each month. Of course the intention is that this money that is collected goes to supporting and improving the various state’s emergency 911 services.
But does all that money go where it is suppose to?
Well if a report from the FCC (pdf) is any indication it would seem that the states are treating this money as their own personal slush funds to spend how they please.
Arizona transferred over $8 million of the money to the state’s general fund.
Georgia collected $8,537,319 in prepaid 911 fees. “None of these funds were allocated for 911 or E911 use,” the report says. Instead, they too sat in the state treasuries’ general fund.
Nebraska used $273,889.35 for “administrative expenses,” which apparently is authorized by state law. Then, “in December 2009, the Nebraska Legislature transferred approximately $3.4 million in interest to address state budget shortfalls.”
New York squirreled $10 million from its Local Wireless Account into its general fund.
Rhode Island took “approximately” $13,373,068 of its E911 money, plopped it in the general fund, and used it “for purposes other than E911 operation.”
Not all states do this at the report points out with most of them spending the money as it is intended to be spent. Where the money might not have gone directly to the 911 service it did go to other emergency services.