California considers a texting tax

“Cell phone owners in California could soon pay extra for the privilege of sending text messages, thanks to landline-era legislation and changing usage patterns,” Rachel England reports for Engadget. “According to recent public law filings, the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering a plan that would bill users a monthly fee for any text message services they use, and phone service carriers aren’t happy about it.”

“It all harks back to the so-called landline era of the 90s, when the US federal government and states established Public Purpose Programs (PPP), which charged all phone users a surcharge that supported programs for low earners (the same deal applies to other utilities, such as electricity),” England reports. “But because people use their phones for voice calling a great deal less now, revenues for PPP have fallen by around a third. The budget for subsidizing low earners, however, has risen by almost 50 percent. The PUC reckons that by including texts within the PPP (which would be convenient, as texting shares the same infrastructure as voice calling), it could raise $44.5 million a year.”

England reports, “Apps such as WhatsApp and iMessage [Apple Messages], which already account for the lion’s share of messaging traffic, would be exempt from the charge.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Pfft. Then the result will be nothing more than more users for Messages as they eschew SMS due to the stupid tax.

35 Comments

      1. Illegals, non-citizens, are getting the benefits due to American citizens, for which American citizens are paying via over-taxation.

        Facts:

        3.53 million illegal aliens live in California
        41 percent of immigrant households in California receive welfare

        1. RE: First Whatever then get your ass kicked in 2018 and 2020.

          That’s OK, because California pays way more in to the Federal Government than it gets back. The welfare queens are the Red states like Mississippi that get better than $2 from D.C. for every Buck they send in.

          That’s right amigo- the Blue states pay for the red states. The Federal Treasury is a big welfare system for poor Republican states.

          1. No, he’s bragging about the states where educated professionals make enough money in the 2018 economy to pay taxes, unlike the states where people are sitting around idle, abusing opioids, and collecting welfare while waiting for the President to bring the 1950s economy back.

        1. The subsidy financed by the PPP is mostly used to finance landlines for people—largely elderly, homebound or rural folks—who could not afford them otherwise.

          If you need an ambulance and can’t call one, you don’t get one, so you die.

          If that does not bother you, “creep” doesn’t just apply to socialism.

  1. Are unlimited texting plans common? Ironically, this would probably disproportionately impact low income earners because they would have less money for high data plans and therefore use texting more often.

  2. Instead … How about California gets rid of the 10s of billions they want to spend on high speed rail system to nowhere???

    And then there is the spending to control global warming when the worst of the pollution causing global warming comes from Central and Eastern Asia.

    ““Departures are understandable when year after year CEOs nationwide surveyed by Chief Executive Magazine have declared California the worst state in which to do business,” said Joseph Vranich, President of Spectrum Location Solutions LLC and study author.”

      1. Sometimes your cynicism is worse than mine.

        https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/12/fcc-forces-california-to-drop-plan-for-government-fees-on-text-messages/

        Bottom line, in the end emmayche was correct … for now. The FCC could very will flip flop to classify texts as telecommunications (as opposed to “information services”) in the future, which would allow states to regulate them.

        While the cries of socialism are overblown (does everyone know that from day one you have been paying taxes on electricity and landline phone specifically to subsidize the installation of rural networks that corporations refused to install without big bad government help? Thanks to “socialism”, the good people in the heartland of rural America can access broadband affordably. Too bad they spend their savings on guns and red MAGA hats made in China.

  3. California never met a tax it didn’t like. Liberals rejoiced in song the praises of the liberal way. Then moved to Texas to lower taxes and repeated the same idiotic ideals. Liberalism is and always will be a mental disease.

    1. “Liberalism is and always will be a mental disease.” except when it is a way to get giant income, benefits, easy pension & then lobbying income when you leave your public office in CA.

      Those politicians ONLY care about the money. That is it.

  4. …and meanwhile, the richest people are getting richer.

    Why not tax them more to pay for this program instead of sticking it to the middle class?

    Remember when demonrats were the party that wanted to redistribute the wealth of the rich to the poor? What ever happened to this?

    1. I’m not a rich person, but I keep getting richer. Because I invest and save. Keep repeating your old tired liberal line and get out there take a chance, build a company, become rich. Nothing is stopping except your liberal victim mentality.

      1. Dave, I am no liberal, not by a long shot. My many pasts posts here will show this.

        Just tired of governments getting the bulk of their money from the middle class.

    2. If you took all of other people’s money, it wouldn’t make a dent in the voracious appetite of the government. Then you wouldn’t have any rich people because they would have no incentive to work hard, innovate, create jobs, take risks, etc. As someone once said, pretty soon you run out of other people’s money. The consumer pays for every thing. Period. Except when it come to the government. And even then, except for the impoverished.

  5. The idea of taxing texts is loathsome. Our arcane and byzantine tax system is inefficient, burdensome and corrupt to the core- and I refer to every level of government.

    Taxation should not be used for social engineering, to punish selected behaviors or to encourage others. Taxation should be as fair as possible, as efficient as possible and gather only the money necessary for the operation of our various levels of government. That is not what is happening.

  6. DavGreg, I probably have never agreed more with any of your thoughts than the one above. With that said, I know who you support politically and their aims are hardly consistent with your statements. Bernie would be disappointed in you, so the person you like in HI.

    One of the key words creating ambiguity in today’s cultural parlance: “fair.”

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