As the economy continues to falter, Congress has an excellent opportunity to provide economic relief to families and businesses. Recently, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) reintroduced the Wireless Tax Fairness Act in the Senate. This occurred just weeks after Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ) introduced the same bill in the House. This legislation, an earlier version of which was approved by the House in 2011, would ensure that taxes on wireless communications will not increase in any jurisdiction for at least five years. As a recent study indicated, wireless services currently face a higher aggregate tax burden than nearly every other industry. These high taxes stifle job growth in a sector of the economy with proven potential as an engine of prosperity.
Wireless taxes are inherently regressive, which should also concern policymakers. The Pew Internet & American Life Project found that young people as well as those with less financial means shoulder a disproportionate amount of the burden of taxes on telecommunications. Some rely on their wireless device as their sole phone line and means of Internet access, making higher taxes even more disconcerting. In an era when legislators continue to dial in more spending and higher taxes, lawmakers should hang up on all calls for higher taxes and instead pass the Wireless Tax Fairness Act.