Mobile Future

Cell phone taxes: a New York state of mind

If you’re a cell phone user – and there are about 280 million of us in the U.S. – you’ve noticed those annoying taxes at the bottom of your bill.  Those small lines add up to a large hit to your wallet – nearly $21 billion in taxes and fees.

So it’s especially dispiriting to read how the Empire State seems to have moved in the wrong direction for its 16+ million cell phone users:

“Eleven federal, state and city levies add as much as 33 percent to the cost of New Yorkers’ cellphones, a [New York] Post analysis found.  A typical cell plan costing $49.99 a month comes with a total tax bill of $10.59 — a 21.18 percent tax rate that helps give New York the fourth-highest cellphone taxes of any state.

“And cheaper plans favored by the frugal and poor are taxed at higher rates.”

This is a bad move on so many levels.  Not only are New York’s taxes terribly regressive, they also discriminate against what for many is an economic and public security lifeline.  If New York wants to encourage economic opportunity, it should can its discriminatory cell phone taxes.