California considers taxing residents for text messaging to pay for low income cell phone users

(YouTube Screenshot)

Regulators in the high tax liberal state of California are reportedly mulling instituting a new tax that would charge mobile phone owners to text their friends and family.

Why? To essentially snatch wealth from those who bought their mobile phones with their own money and redistribute it into programs designed to provide low-income residents with a free phone.

Former President Barack Obama was notorious for pushing similar schemes on the national level.

“It’s unclear how much individual consumers would be asked to pay their wireless carrier for texting services under the proposal. But it likely would be billed as a flat surcharge per customer — one of those irksome fees at the bottom of your wireless bill — not a fee per text,” The Mercury News reported.

According to the California Public Utilities Commission, the budget for the so-called Public Purpose Program that provides taxpayer-subsidized services to low-income residents has spiked from a low of $670 million in 2011 to $998 million last year.

“This is unsustainable over time,” the commission concluded in a recent report.

But instead of trying to cut costs by rooting out fraud — which runs rampant in other welfare programs both on the state and federal level — the commission wants to force additional costs on taxpayers, much to the dismay of both local residents and business groups.

“It’s a dumb idea,” Jim Wunderman, the president of the Bay Area Council business-sponsored advocacy group, said in a statement. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

The California Chamber of Commerce and Silicon Valley Leadership Group also oppose the idea and have noted that the new charges would cost those who text $44.5 million total per year.

The CTIA, a trade association representing the top wireless providers in America, has likewise reportedly filed certain legal paperwork arguing that imposing a tax on texting would be illegal.

In fact, the Federal Communications Commission was reportedly slated to review the matter Wednesday and ultimately rule that the California Public Utilities Commission “has no authority to impose surcharges on text messaging,” according to a CTIA statement.

Some locals spoken to by Bay Area station KNTV seem to agree with the sentiment.

Listen:

“I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already,” one local said, echoing the same arguments often posited about Obamacare.

While Obamacare provided health care relief for the impoverished, it did so by dramatically raising the premiums on working class and Middle-Class Americans, some of whom were barely able to afford health care afterward. Some just went without health care altogether.

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The consensus on Twitter appears to also be against the proposal:

California has suffered a reduction in new jobs and an exodus of residents in part because of the new taxes and regulations constantly being added by the state’s left-wing legislature and regulators.

Yet one Bay Area resident who spoke with KNTV saw nothing wrong with the latest scheme.

“If they want to pay extra in taxes, we’ll pay extra in taxes,” she said.

Imagine how different American history would look had the organizers of the Boston Tea Party been as willing and ready to acquiesce to the high tax demands of Britain.

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Vivek Saxena

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