Federal Communications Law Journal

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Publication Citation

50 Federal Communications Law Journal 255 (1997)


Congress has the sole power to levy and collect taxes. The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may delegate this authority to administrative agencies so long as the will of Congress is clearly defined in the legislation. However, section 254 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 operates as an unconstitutional delegation of Congress' authority to tax. This legislation provides the FCC with unfettered discretion in defining the boundaries of universal service and the authority to mandate that all consumers of telecommunications services subsidize the cost for low-income and rural consumers, as well as schools, libraries, and health care providers.