California Abandons Plan to Tax Text Messages

By Erick Sandoval

 California was thinking about taxing text messages, but it seems like that plan is going down the drain. California regulators are no longer planning on taxing them.

    The California Public Utilities Commission said a new FCC ruling prevented the state from levying a tax on text plans. The state hoped to add new monthly fees onto wireless customers’ bills to increase funds for programs that bring connectivity to underserved residents. The regulators were scheduled to vote on the plan on January 10, 2019. CPUC commissioner Carla Peterman withdrew the text proposal “in light of the FCC’s action.”

    The CPUC’s proposed text tax faced strong opposition from industry trade groups, including CTIA, it represents AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. AT&T is the parent company of CNN. California’s goal was to bolster the budget by adding the text message tax. All until the Federal Communications Commission said text messages are an information service, not a telecommunications service. The CPUC was hoping the tax would generate $44.5 million in a one year time span.

         This plan was originally introduced to fund programs that make phone service more accessible to low-income residents. They made a proposal to extend a tax on telecommunications services, like phone lines, to text messages. The federal Telecommunications Act limits state authority information services.

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