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California regulators will consider implementing a tax on texting

By Polycount · 29 replies
Dec 13, 2018
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  1. State governments are always looking for ways to fund their various local projects, and California's latest idea is a metaphorical goldmine in that regard.

    Courtesy of a USA Today report, we now know that California's Public Utilities Commission is considering enacting a tax on text messages.

    This isn't coming completely out of the blue, though. Apparently, California is determining whether or not such a tax would comply with much older federal rules; the Public Purpose Programs (PPP) legislation that goes back to the 1930s, to be specific. The PPP allows states to impose taxes on communications services in order to subsidize them for low-income citizens.

    Naturally, the telecommunications industry is not too happy with California's ideas. The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) issued the following statement in a legal filing to the Public Utilities Commission:

    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.

    In other words, the CTIA feels that a texting tax would be unfair, given that other communications services which rely on Wifi (such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or even Discord) to function would not be hit with similar fees.

    For better or worse, California's regulators will vote on the matter sometime in January. Whether you're for or against the idea of a texting tax, one thing is certain: This is shaping up to be one of the most controversial proposals California has considered in quite some time - a quick glance at your social media feed of choice should provide ample evidence of that.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,355   +870

    Can't say I'm surprised that California is the one to consider this...
     
  3. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 666   +318

    Where is a ban cords and wires covered wit rubberized plastic that cause cancer in state of CA? I have been waiting for it forever. How long till California will free me from all this cancer? When will it be replaced with something safe, like bird feathers? You disappoint me Cali, again.
     
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    I'm surprised they have not considered implementing a tax on talking (aka: noise pollution).
     
  5. ckm88

    ckm88 TS Enthusiast Posts: 63   +38

    Is this a joke, California? Like no wonder everyone moving East lulz.
     
  6. Hexic

    Hexic TS Evangelist Posts: 458   +289

    Despite the rest of the country pointing and laughing at you for decades now, you continue to one-up your last "achievement", Cali.

    Keep up the.... Work!
     
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    California thinks we look up to them. But in reality the only reason we look is for the laughs.
     
  8. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 391   +277

    Hmmm, taxes are usually assessed as a percentage.
    Texting is not charged by ISPs.
    Enjoy your n percentage of 0.
     
  9. jason lee

    jason lee TS Rookie Posts: 16   +6

    This is what you get when you elect officials on the extreme liberal side.
     
    JamesSWD likes this.
  10. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    This is what you get when you elect officials that think all freedoms should be taken away.
     
    JamesSWD and seeprime like this.
  11. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 336   +354

    Bird feathers are known to cause allergies, to the state of California.
     
  12. treetops

    treetops TS Evangelist Posts: 2,361   +403

    If so smart people will use apps to text instead over their data. Letters take very very little data.
     
  13. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 336   +354

    Everyone would begin using VPN to send text messages. Good luck with your tax collection California.
     
  14. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,882   +3,315

    You know, there was a movement by the US Post Office to start charging for eMail's because of their "loss of revenue" but it never made it past the first two weeks. This one is ripe for 1st Amendment violation by attempting to tax or charge for free speech. It's won't go far and the 9th Circuit court will nip it in the bud.
     
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    Unless they only charge specific context or topics, I don't see where that would be the case.
     
  16. Paulos7

    Paulos7 TS Booster Posts: 31   +29

    "If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet"
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,521   +3,702

    I'm pretty sure that's George Harrison from "Taxman". How about if we give credit where credit is due?

    Taxman
    The Beatles
    Let me tell you how it will be
    There's one for you, nineteen for me
    'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don't take it all
    'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah I'm the taxman
    If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
    If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
    Don't ask me what I want it for
    If you…
     
    senketsu likes this.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    Apple will sue for patent infringement.
     
    Hexic likes this.
  19. Ean Mogg

    Ean Mogg TS Enthusiast Posts: 96   +40

    Lets TAX Breathing or Smiling or Farting better still Blinking ...lol
     
  20. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 11,208   +4,873

    Ohh farting is not allowed without the use of a California approved catalytic convertor.
     
    madboyv1 and captaincranky like this.
  21. Reachable

    Reachable TS Evangelist Posts: 359   +172

    .....and then it generated the usual hysteria.

    It doesn't matter whether text messages are also sent over apps. You're not taxing the activity, you're surcharging the charge. You can also talk over apps.
     
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,521   +3,702

    Farting is protected under the 1st amendment 's provision of "freedom of speech".

    If you had to fart through a catalytic converter, all the poetry, inner meaning, mental turmoil, depth of emotion, and subtle nuances of thought of so many great minds, would be lost.forever. :rolleyes:
     
    cliffordcooley and madboyv1 like this.
  23. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,526   +416

    But then the regulators would be subjected to that tax, and that simply won't do. :p
     
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  24. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,127   +603

    Only income, revenue, or asset taxes are percent-based. Nearly every other tax is a flat-fee per-unit. Expect to see this as a some fraction of a cent per message levied on the carriers. Carriers will then either eliminate unlimited texting so they can transfer that tax directly, or levy a new 'monthly texting fee' on customers that will more than cover the taxes in most case (giving them yet another thing they can profit from)
     
  25. Paulos7

    Paulos7 TS Booster Posts: 31   +29



    That's why I put it in quotes. That way people who were interested could search the quote and find the relevance without me having to post the whole song. George was right.
     

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