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New phone fees start in September

September is when Wisconsinites will start paying the new 75-cent monthly phone fee that's part of the new state budget.

Some customers may not get charged until later if their phone companies aren't ready to add the fee - and they could be back-billed for what they didn't pay in September.

Also, there's a chance you might not see the fee on your monthly bill.

Chris LaRowe of the Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association says most phone companies will itemize it for their customers. But he said the governor and Legislature set up the law so that the fee can simply be molded into your local service rate.

The fee is designed to help local communities maintain police and fire protection, as a way to help them make up for losses in state aid and keep property taxes from going up even more in December.

It was part of the effort to balance the new state budget, and get rid of a $6.6 billion deficit.

LaRowe said his group was disappointed that the fee didn't go entirely to local 911 centers.

And he says questions remain about imposing it on customers with more than 10 phone lines.

The Revenue Department says it's too early to answer those types of questions.