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November 16, 2022

King Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Federal Broadband Grants Are Delivered in Full, Not Taxed

Bill adjusts tax code to avoid federal taxes, so dollars for broadband connectivity are used wholly for that purpose

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King, has cosponsored a bipartisan bill to maximize the historic broadband funding for residents across Maine. The Broadband Grant Tax Treatment Act (BGTTA) would classify broadband funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) as non-taxable income, ensuring that the entirety of federal dollars awarded to companies for the purpose of deploying broadband in Maine can be used wholly for that purpose, rather than going back to the government through taxes.

Currently, grants awarded to industry for broadband deployment are factored into a company’s income unless Congress acts to address the problem. This new bipartisan legislation moves to exclude broadband deployment grants awarded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and ARP from an organization’s income.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan made once-in-a-generation investments to help every Maine household get an affordable, reliable broadband connection. Now, we have to ensure the funding is delivered in full to accomplish our connectivity goals,” said Senator King. “Taxing federal broadband grants as income undermines the purpose of these historic internet connectivity programs and creates unnecessary hurdles for companies looking to invest in Maine. The Broadband Grant Tax Treatment Act (BGTTA) is a commonsense step to make the most of the new broadband funding. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s signing, I hope Congress will pass this bipartisan effort to further improve legislation that is providing game changing opportunities for Maine communities.”

"This is smart and focused legislation that will amplify the impact of both the BIL and ARP directly benefiting small businesses, communities, and consumers,” said Andrew Butcher, President of the Maine Connectivity Authority. “Maine's Internet Service Providers, contractors, and consumers have a huge job to build modern, world class high speed internet infrastructure and the BGTTA will help ensure that the federal investment reaches as far as possible to ensure internet for all. " 

As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Broadband Caucus, Senator King has been a strong advocate for expanding affordable broadband access as a way to increase economic opportunity in rural Maine. After Senator King’s advocacy and negotiation, President Biden signed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest $65 billion in broadband infrastructure across the nation. The bills historic broadband provisions include over $40 billion in block grants to states and $2 billion for tribal governments, mirroring Senator King’s bipartisan BRIDGE Act and the Digital Equity Act, he championed to invest $2.75 billion in an array of projects at the state and local level that promote “digital equity.” This is in addition to securing $10 billion in funding for broadband in the American Rescue Plan, as well as more than $7 billion to close the digital divide for students nationwide. Together, these constitute the largest investment in broadband in the nation’s history.

Recently, King also celebrated a $5 million grant to the Maine Connectivity Authority, through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs in rural Maine. 

Full text of the bill is available here

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