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News & Press: Policy News

House Votes to Bar Tax Hikes on Cell Phone Services

Tuesday, November 1, 2011  
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The House moved Tuesday to block state and local governments from raising taxes on cell phone services.  H.R. 1002, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, would prohibit state and local governments from imposing "discriminatory” taxes on mobile services or companies for five years. It passed by voice vote.

The measure would label as discriminatory any taxes that are higher than those generally imposed on other companies or services. It would exempt taxes already in place before enactment as well as taxes to support enhanced 911 emergency systems and universal service programs to provide cell service to rural areas.The measure garnered much bipartisan support, with over 140 Representatives signing on as co-sponsors.  

According to the findings of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the average wireless consumer is charged more than 16% in taxes and fees while other taxable goods and services are only 7.4%.  Additionally, 47 states along with the District of Columbia are charging wireless consumers more than other taxable goods and services. Five states, including Nebraska, Washington, New York, Florida and Illinois, charge more than 20%.

The Senate has not taken action on the companion measure, S. 543.

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