U.S. House Passes Wireless Tax Fairness Act

MyWireless.org® Praises U.S. House of Representatives for Passing Historic, Pro-Consumer ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011’

PRESS CONTACT: Brian Johnston, (202) 736-2980

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 1, 2011) – National wireless consumer coalition MyWireless.org® commends the U.S. House of Representatives for its unanimous approval of H.R. 1002, the bipartisan Lofgren-Franks Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011.’ Passed by a voice vote and backed by 236 co-sponsors, this pro-consumer legislation calls for a 5-year moratorium on all new, discriminatory state and local wireless taxes and fees.

On behalf of wireless consumers shouldering a disproportionate monthly tax burden, MyWireless.org also expressed thanks to the timely leadership shown by all those Members who helped make this day possible – original sponsors Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ); Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN); Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA); and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD).

Brian Johnston, Director of Advocacy for MyWireless.org, said, “This legislation is a fantastic example of lawmakers from both parties working together to address increasingly unfair efforts by state and local governments to balance their books on the backs of wireless consumers. On average, wireless consumers pay well more than their fair share of taxes and fees, and now the U.S. House has taken action to help them.”

Johnston continued, “We particularly want to thank Representatives Lofgren and Franks for their tireless work, as well as all of the bill’s co-sponsors for defending wireless users across this country from more unfair, new state and local wireless taxation. Now it’s time for the Senate to step up for consumers and deliver Wireless Tax Fairness.”

A bipartisan Senate companion bill, S. 543, the Wyden-Snowe ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act,’ has awaited consideration by the Senate Finance Committee since March 10th of this year. Both proposals address the excessive level of wireless taxes and fees on today’s wireless user. On average, the American wireless consumer now pays more than 16% on every monthly bill in combined government taxes and fees – more than double the average sales tax paid on other general goods and services. In fact, 47 states and the District of Columbia charge combined monthly wireless tax rates in excess of their sales tax rate, and the national consumer tax burden annually has risen to $21 billion. Because discriminatory, new state and local taxes and fees on wireless services are typically regressive – and significantly increase consumers’ cost of service – the burden often falls especially hard on fixed-income users such as seniors, minority communities, working families and small businesses.

2011 MyWireless.org national polling revealed 67% of consumers support a 5-year freeze from Congress on all new state and local wireless taxes and fees, while 85% said wireless should be taxed at the same, or lower, rate as other general goods and services.

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MyWireless.org® is a nonpartisan non-profit national advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from around the country, supporting reasonable pro-consumer and pro-taxpayer wireless policies.

2 thoughts on “U.S. House Passes Wireless Tax Fairness Act

  1. CapitalistFool February 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I am definitely no fan of taxes, but this looks unconstitutional to me. The constitution does not authorize the Federal government to regulate state taxes. It directly contradicts the 10th Amendment! It’s one more abuse of the interstate commerce clause. If California wants to tax and regulate its citizens to death, those citizens leave for other states, plain and simple. It’s a serious blow to federalism.

    The larger reason for high prices is the barrier to entry that congress created with ridiculous regulation and the foolish rush to auction bandwidth. They rubber-stamped the FCC rulings, and allowed the big three carriers to set the rules. Of course, the FCC is bought and paid for by guess who. Since only they could meet the regulations, nobody else could submit bids in the time frame allowed. So, the big carriers ate up the bandwidth for a song. Does anyone remember how few bids there were and how low the bids were? It’s not because nobody wanted bandwidth. It’s because nobody else could afford the bidding process and the regulation. The FCC didn’t care about innovation that arises from competition. They were more concerned with regulation and control, and fewer carriers are easier to regulate. This is one more step toward federal control.

    User fees are the right way to tax, and the federal government should not be regulating user fees at the state level. If some states go overboard, that will be to their own detriment, because it will slow the construction of new and better towers. This forces enforcement of reasonable regulations that should be done at the local and regional level up to the FCC. This pulls jurisdiction out of the states, making it easier for the big carriers to maintain their dominance, and reduces their need to innovate.

    This should and probably will be challenged by the states. Otherwise, overspending states will be forced to increase income taxes.

  2. CapitalistFool February 26, 2012 at 10:50 am - Reply

    A classic Progressive’s attack on Federalism: offer something small in a major attack on the 10th Amendment.

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