The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce has joined a coalition of local chamber and business organizations opposing a newly proposed communications tax. The proposed tax would impact text messaging. While details of the proposal are still not entirely clear, many feel taxing text messages sets a bad standard moving forward and would be expensive to California consumers.
Business groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, and others are opposing the idea. All together the new charges for wireless consumers could total about $44.5 million a year according estimates. There is also an issue with how far the tax arm will ultimately reach, under the regulators’ proposal the charge could be applied retroactively for five years and could amount to a bill of more than $220 million for California consumers.
“In the opinion of many in the telecommunication industry, this is a very bad precedent to be setting,” says Patrick Swarthout, the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce Legislative Liaison to Sacramento. “Taxing text messages is like taxing conversation, this is how many people communicate now.”
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is set to vote next month on a proposal to add on a surcharge for text messages.