Lawmakers should reject proposed tax hikes on phone service

By Robert Gutierrez at The OC Register

September 8, 2021

The high cost of living in California is one of our biggest problems, and two proposals being considered by state lawmakers would make things even worse by increasing taxes on your phone service.

Smartphones are practically a necessity of life in 2021, but they aren’t cheap. On top of the base amount for the phone and service, the typical California household pays taxes, fees, and surcharges that add nearly 26 percent more to the monthly bill. We pay local utility taxes, a federal tax, a tax to fund the Universal Lifeline Service, another tax to fund the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, and others.

Two bills pending in the Legislature would add to these taxes. Assembly Bill 14 would authorize an unelected, unaccountable board to collect up to $100 million in taxes every year, and Senate Bill 4 proposes a $150 million tax every year for 10 years.

Supporters argue that the bills are needed to fund important services – namely, to provide additional money for the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program and to pay for an expansion of high-speed Internet access.

Yes, these programs are important. The services for disabled Californians have helped many people, and there is no question that expanding broadband Internet access to all Californians is a critical step forward in a technology-driven society. But we can give these programs the support they need without increasing taxes.

Read more at The OC Register


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