Cell Bill Aims to Slash Taxes
July 2, 2009 (Vol. 30, No. 13)
The “Mobile Wireless Tax Fairness Act,” introduced in the Senate on June 4, would restrict any state or local jurisdiction from imposing a new “discriminatory” tax on mobile communications services, providers or property for five years.
The bill is a reaction to consumer complaints about high local and state taxation of wireless services, which can add as much as 18% to the cost of a cell phone bill [VR 3/26/09].
The legislation (S.1192) is sponsored by a bipartisan group of six senators. It was referred to the Senate committee on finance where it must be approved before it moves to a vote by the full Senate.
A companion bill (H.R.1521) was introduced in the House on March 15, also calling for a five-year moratorium on new mobile taxes. That bill now sits with the House judiciary committee, which has scheduled a hearing to discuss it.
But don’t hold your breath: Similar bills introduced in the House last April and in the Senate last July sat for the remainder of 2008 and were never acted upon [VR 1/15/09].
Check out your state’s wireless taxes at www.thevoicereport.com/2009-03-26/WorkTool.
Overall, two-thirds of states had an increase in wireless taxes in 2008 from 2007, according to Scott Mackey, partner at Montpelier, Vt.-based government relations and public affairs firm Kimbell Sherman Ellis.
The national average rose less than a percent from 2007 to 2008, but taxes in some states, such as Montana, jumped almost one-fifth. (