Bush Wants to Shut Telecom Fund

Washington -- President Bush wants to eliminate a federal telecommunications fund that has lost nearly 70% of its investments and has run up high administrative costs, according to the White House’s fiscal 2006 budget released Monday.

Congress created the Telecommunications Development Fund in 1996 to help finance small businesses and promote new technologies in the telecom sector.

But the fund has written off $10 million of the $14.5 million invested in 14 companies, and has spent $9 million on salaries and other overhead costs. The fund has $29 million on hand, according to the White House

“As a result of the TDF’s disappointing performance, lack of impact, and high administrative costs, the budget proposes terminating the fund and returning remaining assets to the Treasury,” the Bush budget said.

The fund obtains its money from interest earned on deposits of bidders that plan to participate in Federal Communications Commission auctions. The fund was created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.