Link to April 12 editorial in the Appleton Post-Crescent, "Telephone tax needed to sustain libraries".
Excerpt: Now, Gov. Jim Doyle's proposed budget allocates $12.6 million from this fund to cover the state's primary contributions to state libraries.
This has raised the ire of some lawmakers, including Sen. Michael Ellis, R-Neenah, who call this a "hidden tax" that is dishonest.
We do understand criticism of Doyle for raiding one fund to pay for unrelated items, such as happened with the transportation fund. Such shifting is a dangerous, shortsighted method that carries high risks of backfiring down the road. But that isn't the case with the libraries.
Using the Universal Service Fund is a valid way to pay for library technology and other library services, which the public is clamoring for now more than ever. (RG's emphasis.)
At the Appleton Public Library alone, users logged 12,899 hours on public computers in the first two months of 2008, a 60 percent increase over the previous year, according to APL director Terry Dawson.
(Thanks to Terry Dawson for his tireless advocacy on this issue.)