California Proposes Tax on Text Messages, Retroactive 5 Years

Mike Mish Shedlock

California regulators want to tax text messages to fund programs that bring connectivity to underserved residents.

Please consider California Proposes a Plan to Tax Text Messages.

A new surcharge proposed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) wouldn't be a per-text tax, but a monthly fee based on a cellular bill that includes any fees for text-message services.

The 52-page proposal by CPUC Commissioner Carla J. Peterman lays out the details of the plan, and says the state's Public Purpose Program budget is going up while incoming fees to fill it are decreasing

According to the CPUC, the charges go to a number of different programs, including 911 services, subsidized phone service for low-income residents, and equipment for deaf and hard-of-hearing users.

The proposed plan could be complicated by a new Federal Communication Commission ruling. On Wednesday, the FCC approved a new rule that classifies text messages as an "information service" like email. Proponent of the rule say it will give carriers the ability to crack down on spam messages, and critics say it could lead to carriers censoring messages.

The CTIA argued in a legal filing submitted Wednesday that if texts are an information service, then the CPUC doesn't have authority over them and can't add on surcharges. It claims the proposal would go against federal law.

Retroactive Five Years

Mercury News notes that "under the regulators’ proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years."

Lovey.

I have a better idea. Stop giving away "free" phone services. Then you won't have to collect taxes to pay for them.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (39)
No. 1-14
Stuki
Stuki

"I have a better idea. Stop giving away "free" phone services. Then you won't have to collect taxes to pay for them."

As long as government can buy the vote of A with free services paid for at gunpoint by B, that's what government will do.

It won't stop until B realizes it is government's ability to steal and redistribute that is the problem which needs solving. No different from any other amoral self optimizer, if government can steal, it will steal.

Blurtman
Blurtman

Rahm to tax pot, gambling, whores and organ sales to attempt to support the ponzi.

2banana
2banana

Public union pensions will be paid.

That is all you really need to know.

Ron Cataldi
Ron Cataldi

Wow what a deep thought Mish, get rid of services for those nasty poor folks. It's almost like libertarianism is an actual, feasible economic model. Almost. But not really. It's a fine personal philosophy if you're OK with coming off like an autistic person who only cares about themselves, but applied to society at large? LOL. Start a political party and call it "Mad Max."

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

A 5 year retroactive tax? If the courts don’t stop that then they really are just a rubber stamp for government. Next stop, California passes a retroactive tax on everything everyone owns back to Sept 9th, 1850.

Maybe they will first pass a law that drivers must keep yellow emergency vests in their cars? That would be hilarious.

AWC
AWC

'America, what a country, everything is free.'

abend237-04
abend237-04

State regulatory agencies eventually reflect the world view of those appointing them; California's is now dysfunctional. We mandate that power utilities string power to cities allowed to be built in firestorm wind tunnels, then our PUC votes unanimously in January to close our last nuke, producing nine percent of the state's power grid output. Every time the bills for these follies become dangerously close to demanding payment, a new tax is slipped under our doors...like this one, and last year's massive new gasoline tax levy. Five year's retroactive tax hiking is at least innovative idiocy.

KidHorn
KidHorn

Every time I look at my cellular bill or cable bill, it's full of taxes. My texts are already being taxed. Why not just raise the tax rate of taxes already in place instead of adding a new tax?

How are they going to determine if someone texted? I'm sure people will just switch to a different app that effectively does the same thing as a text but technically isn't.

Whoever came up with this idea is a technological neophyte.

SMF
SMF

Served a night in a homeless winter shelter in California. Out of about 16, people in the shelter, about 12 of them had phones. And they want more money?

RonJ
RonJ

"Wow what a deep thought Mish, get rid of services for those nasty poor folks."

Martin Armstrong, today: "In Illinois, the city of Peoria has been forced to eliminate 22 firefighter and 16 police positions even after they made 27 layoffs earlier this year. Your taxes are going to pay for the retired people and services have to be cut because they cannot afford current employees."

Government employee retirement costs are going to crowd out government services to the people.

Brother
Brother

The solution should be reduce the Public Purpose Program budget and spend what it is funded for. Why are they spending more than the program allows? Send out end of support notices to the phone users. A cheap phone plan is $10 a month + $9 in taxes.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Certainly enough California legislators know what the phrase, "No law shall be passed ex-post facto" means before the proposed bill is put to a vote.

Mike Mish Shedlock
Mike Mish Shedlock

Editor

"Wow what a deep thought Mish, get rid of services for those nasty poor folks. Martin Armstrong, today: "In Illinois, the city of Peoria has been forced to eliminate 22 firefighter and 16 police positions even after they made 27 layoffs earlier this year. Your taxes are going to pay for the retired people and services have to be cut because they cannot afford current employees."

Seriously F them. Public union workers are overpaid. The city of Peoria ought to go bankrupt and slash benefit. But it cannot because the state won't let it. But it could just stop paying all benefits.

You are totally nuts if you think these benefits can and should be paid.

stillCJ
stillCJ

Editor

The majority in Sacramento is bonkers, which is a pity because CA used to be a wonderful state. Now they would like to pass a bill that is impossible, and even if it was possible, people would find another way and avoid the tax.


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