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Nation’s Oldest Taxpayer Group Lauds House Passage of Wireless Tax Fairness Act; Prepares Push in Senate
For Immediate Release November 3, 2011
Douglas Kellogg, (703) 683-5700
The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) praised the U.S. House of Representatives for their recent overwhelming voice vote in favor of H.R. 1002 the Wireless Tax Fairness Act sponsored by Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ). Now NTU is planning a grassroots campaign to secure Senate passage of the bill which, if it becomes law, would place a five-year moratorium on new state and local taxes that specifically target wireless services.
The bipartisan sponsorship of the House legislation, combined with its common sense aim of halting the march of state and local wireless taxes, drew 236 total co-sponsors, including the support of more than 70 Democrats in addition to its Republican base. Currently, the typical combined tax bill of 16 percent on wireless is about double the average tax hit of standard consumer items.
“When it comes to emerging technologies like smartphones, governments have often adopted not-too-smart tax policies,” said NTU Executive Vice President Pete Sepp. “The Wireless Tax Fairness Act wisely puts the brakes on this burdensome and economically unproductive habit.”
Just as it supported federal legislation in the mid-1990s to prevent discriminatory state and local taxes on Internet access, NTU has campaigned for the Wireless Tax Fairness Act since it was first introduced several Congresses ago. As an open NTU letter sent to lawmakers just prior to the H.R. 1002 vote explained, tax burdens on wireless service have steadily crept up, often taking forms not readily apparent to consumers. But aside from the direct harm caused to taxpayers, such policies “have the potential to snuff out future growth and innovation,” the letter explained: “Historically, governments were able to fleece the communications industry because they severely limited competition and left customers with few options. Now telecommunications is a key driver of the economy that offers a wide range of services, including mobile banking and email, with direct ties to increased productivity and convenience.”
Sepp said NTU will now focus on passage of Senate companion legislation (S. 543) sponsored by Sens. Wyden (D-OR) and Snowe (R-ME). “The Wireless Tax Fairness Act is proof positive that lawmakers can act in a constructive, bipartisan manner to protect taxpayers and promote economic growth,” he concluded. “NTU is committed to mobilizing citizens throughout the nation to help stop the spiral of higher taxes on wireless phones, and help start the vigorous recovery America needs.”
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization working for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. For more information on NTU's work on internet and wireless taxation visit ntu.org.