Influence Is The Difference
MLC teams up with DISH and DIRECTV to fight for the exclusion of television services from state-level paid services taxation.
DISH and DIRECTV faced a significant challenge when the issue of sales tax on services surfaced in Michigan. All television providers in Michigan would be affected by the proposed tax, yet satellite providers would take the hardest hit.
Cable companies sought a significant credit against the tax for fees paid for using the public right of way. Since satellite technology sends the signal straight to the subscribers house, DISH and DIRECTV would be hit with the full force of the tax. This is where MLC went to work.
MLC set out to lobby for the exclusion of the entire paid television industry from falling into the new tax category. Since satellite companies aren’t historically taxed on a state level, DISH and DIRECTV had a very minor presence at the Capitol and far fewer connections when compared to their cable company counterparts. MLC knew that the biggest challenge would be competing with cable’s many corporate representatives and state-level lobbyists.
A major component to fighting the legislation was driving action among satellite television customers, which was made possible through both DIRECTV and DISH services. By reaching out to subscribers, DISH and DIRECTV activated a grassroots outreach program through a dedicated television channel and phone program urging customers, who would pay the tax, to contact their legislators.
By utilizing a thoughtfully crafted campaign, and the client’s resources, MLC successfully fought to exclude paid television services from being taxed at the state level. MLC’s many years of experience in Lansing had unbeatable benefits, including a keen sense of which legislators would support the campaign. Understanding what motivates them can be an enormous advantage for gaining constituents who will stand by—and fight for—your cause.
“Working with MLC proved to be one of the most important decisions we made for the success of our business in the Michigan market. The strategic insights and execution MLC provided have been invaluable for the satellite industry.”
– Beth Williams, Head of State Government Affairs, DISH
“The strong relationships MLC has with Michigan legislators are a game-changer for companies based out of state. Without MLC’s long-standing connections, satellite providers serving Michigan would have faced significant losses.”
– Damon Stewart, Vice President, State Government Affairs, DIRECTV