Taxing text messages? California is considering it.

Leave it to California to try to tax your text messages.

According to USA Today, the Golden State is considering charging mobile phone users a fee each time they send a text message. Because of the shift away from land lines and voice calls, California’s Public Utilities Commission has lost voice call revenue for telecommunications services which uses tax dollars to make phones accessible to low-income residents.

The article says “voice call revenue for these state programs has dropped by about a third, from $16.5 billion in 2011 to $11.3 billion in 2017,” while the budget to subsidize poorer users has risen.

The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association says, “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.”

However, California is going to try to find a way and legislators are scheduled to vote on the proposed tax next month.


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