Legislators in the House and Senate have introduced a bill, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act Act, which would impose a five-year moratorium on taxes on wireless service, a tax rate the legislators say now averages about 16.3%, or more than double that on other goods and services.
Reining-in taxes plays to the Republican side of the aisle, while boosting the attractiveness of wireless helps out with the Obama Administration's push for wireless as a driver of broadband adoption.
The Bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) and in the Senate by Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Me.).
"Wireless Tax Fairness Act, is about expanding access and innovation in our nation's wireless broadband market," said Lofgren in announcing the bill. "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. "The exorbitant taxes on wireless customers are not only unfair, they are counter-intuitive," said Franks, "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."
Not surprisingly, wireless company Verizon was cheering the bill and urging it toward swift passage.
"The Wireless Tax Fairness Act and its five-year ‘timeout' on new, discriminatory taxes would protect customers from new financial burdens that discourage their use of the wireless technologies that are so integral to our lives," said Peter Davidson, Verizon senior vice president of federal government relations. "In this fragile economic recovery, now is not the time to impose new taxes that will make mobile broadband connections less affordable for consumers, stifle e-commerce and hinder high-tech innovation."