California proposing to tax text messages to support phone services for poor

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WGNO — State regulators in California are proposing a plan to charge a fee for text messages. That means you’re charged for all of those, “Who dis? New phone.” and “LOL!”s.

Some argue that this wouldn’t be a tax for services like Apple’s iMessage, What’s App, or Slack but only text messages sent on your cell phone… but why should I be punished for my brother’s use of an Android?

To further explain, the federal government (and states) have already created multiple public purpose programs. These (already established) programs charge people a fee for their cell phone service. The money from those charges helps to fund programs for low income individuals and families. The latest proposal suggests that they extend the existing tax to cover text messages too.

That additional charge could bring in $44 million a year from cell phone users.

The CTIA organization represents the US wireless communications industry and is arguing that, “texting is not a telecommunications service that can be regulated by the commission.”

The FCC is expected to meet on the the proposal, which is also on the agenda for the California Public Utilities Commission this week.

Would you be angry if they tried to tax text messages in Louisiana?

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