California Regulators Propose New Text Tax

The California Public Utilities Commission has proposed adding a tax for text messaging services. The wireless industry is not having it. A vote on the measure is scheduled on January 10.

Regulators say the fee, which would be added to bills for text services, rather than a tax on every text would be used to close budget shortfalls for services including 911, services and equipment for the deaf and disabled and subsidies for low-income residents.

The industry is balking, mainly through CTIA, that the tax would penalize wireless carriers and make them less competitive than over-the-top messaging services like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

“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,” CTIA wrote in its filing against the tax the text measure.

However, the idea may be dead before its even put to a vote. This week the FCC voted to classify text messages as an “information service” like email, opening up the possibility for carriers to censor emails, according to CNN business.

Maybe someone should remind these companies about the huge tax breaks they’ve recently received, putting billions back in their coffers.

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