March 10, 2011
Washington, D.C. - Today, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) joined Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in jointly introducing the bi-partisan, pro-consumer "Wireless Tax Fairness Act," which provides for a 5-year moratorium on any new discriminatory wireless tax or fee. On average, wireless customers now pay 16.3% in taxes and fees, more than twice the average rate of 7.4% on other goods and services. In many localities, this cumulative tax burden is even worse: 26.8% in Baltimore, 19.9% in Omaha, 18.2% in Tallahassee, and 20.4% in New York City. The Wireless Tax Fairness Act would halt this trend by imposing a temporary, five-year freeze on new taxes that are imposed only on wireless services. Wireless broadband access is rapidly becoming a key platform for innovation, and this legislation will help foster further investment and access in this key market. Importantly, it does not take away any existing revenue from state or local governments, it simply caps the current taxes and fees.
“Wireless Tax Fairness Act, is about expanding access and innovation in our nation’s wireless broadband market,” noted Rep. Zoe Lofgren. “By freezing wireless taxes and fees, we hope to spur additional consumer driven development in wireless broadband and to increase access to advanced wireless networks. This legislation is about stabilizing the wireless and giving consumers the opportunity to choose services based on the merits and not on the changing rate of taxation.”
"Access to wireless networks represents a key component of millions of Americans' livelihoods, providing the efficient communications capabilities -- whether phone, broadband internet, or otherwise -- necessary to run a successful business,” said Rep. Trent Franks. “The exorbitant taxes on wireless customers are not only unfair, they are counter-intuitive, adding yet another costly impediment to the success of so many American businesses, which are struggling in the midst of a prolonged recession and already hefty tax burden, as well as singling out low-income and senior Americans, who frequently rely on wireless service as their sole means of telephone and internet access, to bear the brunt of the tax's impact."