[Payment of State-Assessed Emergency Telephone Charges]

B-253695: Jul 28, 1993

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A Department of Agriculture (USDA) certifying officer requested an advance decision on the propriety of paying the 9-1-1 emergency telephone charge assessed against federal agencies in Pennsylvania. GAO held that USDA could not pay the charge, since the: (1) fee was a vendee tax which the federal government was liable for as a user of the telephone services; and (2) federal government was constitutionally immune from the tax, since Congress did not expressly authorize payment of the tax.