California Proposes to Tax Text Messages to Fund Service for Low-Income Residents
California state legislators have suggested the state implement a tax on text messages in order to help fund the Public Purpose Program. The PPP is similar to the Mobility Fund operated by the federal government. It levies a tax on wireless services and uses those funds to offer low-cost or free wireless service to low-income residents. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which is the entity behind the proposal, says the texting tax could help close the PPP's budget gap, which stands at close to $330 million. Because the proposal would still tax voice calls, the CPUC suggests those who talk more than text will see a higher tax based on those voice calls, while those who text more than talk will see a higher tax based on those texts. The CTIA, a lobbying group for the wireless industry, pushed back against the proposal. "Subjecting wireless carriers' text messaging traffic to surcharges that cannot be applied to the lion's share of messaging traffic and messaging providers is illogical, anticompetitive and harmful to consumers," said the CTIA in a filing. The tax would not apply to messaging services such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, all of which push messages over data connections, rather than the legacy short-messaging service connection. Some suggest the new tax would unfairly impact the very people the plan proposes to help. The CPUC could vote on the matter as early as this week.
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Another Reason to Avoid California at All Cost.
Isn't this what the Obama Phone program is for?