Saturday, June 17, 2006

Can't they just axe the stupid TV tax?

The Irish Times reports on the Irish TV licence fee today. Some of what they report is not news, like the substantial "evasion". But now the fee, a subvention in respect of public service broadcasting, is to be taxed. This will only be grist to the mill of the private broadcasters, who believe the licence fee merely allows RTE to overbid them for soccer and Hollywood movie rights.

Even An Post, who historically collect the licence money, don't want to collect it. Some in RTE are also surely looking at the UK who are claiming a requirement to pay a licence fee for cellphones which can now receive video.

I've got a better idea - let's pick a figure of say, 155m Euro. Let's add in the fee payable to An Post for administering the system and for paying "licence inspectors". Let's write a single block grant cheque from Dept of Finance to RTE. Note to Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen - it would be about as popular as Jack Lynch abolishing rates but with a way lower impact on national finance, would increase RTE's revenue, free up court caseload due to prosecuting "evaders" and get An Post out of a business they don't want to be in because it makes people hate them. Get it done.
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