Did Verizon Scam Pennsylvania?

from the maybe-so dept

Someone anonymous submitted this story saying that Verizon (as Bell Atlantic) has been scamming the state of Pennsylvania. Apparently, Pennsylvania gave Bell Atlantic “financial incentives” to the tune of $2.1 billion, in exchange for certain broadband promises – which were never delivered. And, we’re talking about much more serious broadband than what people talk about today. In the agreement (signed in 1994), Bell Atlantic promised “45MB/s symmetrical fiber service right to the door of homes and businesses”. The company clearly promised this rate in the agreement and other statements, but never reached it. In exchange, though, they were granted $1.5 billion in tax relief and $600 million in other incentives. If you’re wondering, this apparently works out to $785 per household in the state of Pennsylvania – and some say Verizon should be forced to pay up.

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Comments on “Did Verizon Scam Pennsylvania?”

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AMetamorphosis says:

Pennsylvania is NOT a state ...

Pennsylvania is NOT a state … we are a ” Commonwealth ” … which in its self is a misnomer … the plethora of local boroughs ( read: Gestapo’s ) , townships, municipalities & such cause overlaps in services , taxes & in ” state ” fighting … its no wonder we have some of the highest taxes in the country … Frankly, I’d like to see Verizon be forced to pay back this money to our ” Commonwealth ” … Sounds like Verizon/Bell or whatever they are called this month works much like the Mafia

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Pennsylvania is NOT a state ...

Interesting. I never knew that.

Though… it must be a state, otherwise the US only has 49 states.

Besides, Pennsylvania has state parks, which wouldn’t make sense if there were no state.

They even have a Department of State which has a State Athletic Commission. Not to mention their State Museum.

It sounds like plenty of people, even within your own State… er… Commonwealth government are confused.

But, I’ll keep it in mind for future reference.

Bish says:

Re: Re: Pennsylvania is NOT a state ...

You tell ’em Mike. You tell ’em all. barqs has bite!

It reminds me of the NAACP and UNCF – two organizations which cannot possibly exist, considering there are no longer Negroes nor Coloured People in the United States; they moved out when the African Americans moved in. Who will collect the college scholarships? Who needs advancing?

(‘Racial slurs’ above are not intended as racial slurs; I’m merely deconstruction the blindly repeated acronyms further above. I have no idea what this week’s accepted autosegratory label could possibly be, and refuse to speculate)

DV Henkel-Wallace says:

Re: Re: Pennsylvania is NOT a state ...

Though… it must be a state, otherwise the US only has 49 states.
Besides, Pennsylvania has state parks, which wouldn’t make sense if there were no state.
They even have a Department of State which has a State Athletic Commission. Not to mention their State Museum.
It sounds like plenty of people, even within your own State… er… Commonwealth government are confused.

Err, it’s a bit more complicated than that (and the net-of-a-thousand-lies is even more pathetically wrong than usual, so I’ll start there).

If you ask google you’ll get two interesting, but wrong results (plus a lot of chaff). The long one is at yahoo, and it quotes the other, at About: that there is no difference. Ridiculous.

First: The United States of America is constituted of the “several states” — that is, sovereign lands (in other words, “states” as we use the term in foreign affairs — hence the “department of state” who handles the US’s “statehood” abroad) who chose to cede certain sovereign powers for all the reasons listed in the preamble to the US constitution.

We often forget this because we are used to throwing around the term “state” for a region like Colorado which doesn’t have much foreign policy (and can’t, under Article 1, Section 10 anyway). But they are States (despite the largely successful federal efforts to squash their independence), and the Supreme Court has resisted (at times more or less vigorously) attempts to “reduce the states to mere administrative regions” (in the words of a famous decision which I can’t find on line this second). In fact you can see vestigial traces of their “independence” in Governors’ ability to issue clemency, the need for extradition and explicit treaties between states, etc. County leaders can’t do any of those things.

Whew. So each of the four commonwealths, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia is a sovereign state in its own right.

What makes a commonwealth different? Well, I was educated in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, and we were told that trials in the commonwealths could cite common law precedent from before the US existed, while the other states could not. I really can’t tell you if this is the case for Kentucky, Pennsylvania, or Virginia, but it is definitely the case in Massachusetts. In fact it applies in a bunch of places; for example I attended The Roxbury Latin School which isn’t really incorporated like most organisations in the US; instead it has a royal charter from Charles II (check out its founding principles). (bonus quiz: Harvard, founded by the same bunch, is incorporated in a unique fashion. How?)

BTW I believe Louisiana only severed its link with the Code Napoléon within the last decade…but people born there even today can still become French citizens if they want.

So the loser lawyer at About.com is looking at things from only a federal standpoint, he could technically, if pointlessly, be correct. Commonwealths are states.

Of course there’s another meaning of “commonwealth” which was mentioned here: it’s an acceptable term (for a republic like the USA) for “colony.”

Interestingly there’s a different, related sense: (most of) the now mostly independent former British colonies are joined in a “commonwealth” instead of Empire, empires becoming declassé in the mid-20th century; many of them are themselves “commonwealths” in their own stead. For example, I was born in a State(!) of the Commonwealth of Australia (who has a Queen, Elizabeth); it is part of The Commonwealth, and later I was educated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (which is a republic).

What do they have in “common” as it were? “Commonwealth” is just what it sounds like: the wealth or value or interests that we have in common (“common wealth” or more commonly “common weal”): the reason, after all that people form associations or states!

AAMetamorphosis says:

Re: Re: Re: Thank you everyone !

Just a quick note to thank all of you for your input & insite ! … I always enjoy learning and to read these different perspectives is quite enjoyable. My origional point though is that our ” CommonWealth ” does not work in the same manner as ” states ” and thats precisely the reason that companies like Verizon/Bell get away with these kind of practices … we have to give ” incentives ” like this to keep businesses from moving away to other states because of our awful tax structure … BTW we DO have to pay Federal taxes too ๐Ÿ™ … and also the reason Pennsylvania is having a very hard time keeping big businesses here … what other state/Commonwealth relies on gambling dollars to support its senior citizens real estate taxes ??? … seems we all lost the point and got off the topic onto the discussion of states vrs. Commonwealths …
Once again, thank you all for the insite & knowledge you’ve given to me !
Peace ๐Ÿ™‚

david says:


1) i need ‘advancing’; especially if there’s a scholarship involved.

2) besides, i’m colored (brown!) since i’m latino…

3) kentucky (where i’m from), pennsylvania, massachusetts and virginia are the four ‘states’ that are also commonwealths…which were at the time synonomous terms. the difference today?

4) In modern times, to be a “commonwealth” of the United States means to be “a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States, namely, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.” (Dictionary.com) A few of the differences between contemporary commonwealth status and statehood are:

Although residents of a commonwealth do not have to pay U.S. federal taxes, they do pay social security and are able to receive federal welfare.
The commonwealth has no voting representation in Congress and citizens of a commonwealth are not allowed to vote in presidential elections. However, they are allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
For years, Puerto Rico has considered United States statehood status. Yet, the majority of citizens wish to remain in commonwealth status.

footnote: http://www.kdla.net/statelib/KYCommonwealth.htm

5) texas (where i’m live) is one of four states to once be independent countries (vermont, cali and hawaii are the others.

random trivia for you…

judy bean (user link) says:

here is a interesting scam verizon pulled

i just got done reading this rant about verizon posted at http://www.keyfess.com/verizon_wireless_is_a_SCAM_AND_STEALS

i thought it seemed like someone just whining. then i did a search for “verizon scams” and found tons of complaints and blogs about it. i guess they really are! why though. they have millions of dollars why take the little guy? what about the verizon future? won’t people leave them????

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