Sacramento Voters to Decide Cell Phone Tax

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Imagine paying a tax for cell phone calls or text messages. The Sacramento city council has referred a proposal to voters in November that would do just that. Sacramento treasurer Russ Fehr says the plan would shift a portion of an existing city utility tax on land-line telephones to text messaging systems…wireless…and internet based phone calls. It proposes reducing taxes on older telephones from the existing seven-and-a-half percent to seven-percent…and placing that half-percent on cell calls and texts. The charge would appear on your monthly cell phone bill. Fehr says that’s needed because city revenues from land-line phones has dropped so much with the popularity of cell phones. City officials call the ballot measure a reduction in the tax…but anti-tax groups say it’s really a tax hike in disguise. Tim Bittle is with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association...which opposes the plan… “If you have a household with a land line and 3 cell phones…and the city is now applying its tax to cell phones…the city is actually asking voters to quadruple the tax they pay…” Sacramento officials say the ballot measure would ensure the city doesn’t lose 12-million dollars in revenue.