As ordered reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on March 3, 2016
S. 2555 would authorize federal agencies to implement various programs and measures related to management of the electromagnetic spectrum. It would direct federal agencies to prepare reports, develop information for firms that provide telecommunications services, award prizes for advanced technologies, and ensure that certain radio frequencies are made available for commercial uses. The bill also would establish terms and conditions under which state and local governments may assess taxes or fees on certain telecommunication services.
CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $85 million over the 2017-2021 period, subject to appropriation of the necessary amounts, mainly to develop new data systems and carry out spectrum management activities. CBO also estimates that enacting S. 2555 would increase net direct spending by $135 million over the 2017-2026 period, primarily as a result of provisions that would accelerate spending related to making federal spectrum available for commercial use. Because enacting the bill would affect direct spending, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. Enacting S. 2555 would not affect revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting the legislation would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits by more than $5 billion in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
S. 2555 would impose intergovernmental mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act (UMRA) by preempting state and local tax laws related to wireless telecommunication services and by preempting the jurisdiction of state and local courts in some cases. CBO estimates that the costs of the mandates, mostly in the form of foregone revenue to state and local governments, would not exceed the threshold established in UMRA ($77 million in 2016, adjusted annually for inflation).
If the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) increases annual fee collections to offset the costs of implementing the bill, doing so would increase the cost of an existing private-sector mandate on some commercial entities regulated by the agency. Based on information from the FCC, CBO estimates that the incremental cost of the mandate would be small, and fall well below the annual threshold established in UMRA for private-sector mandates ($154 million in 2016, adjusted annually for inflation).