FCC says NO to California’s greedy text-taxing idea. Residents are relieved.

(YouTube screenshot)

California state regulators have dropped their widely panned plan to institute a tax that would have charged mobile phone owners to text their friends and family.

Regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission announced the change in plans after the Federal Communications Commission ruled Wednesday that text messages classify as “information services” versus “telecommunications services.”

Because “information services” may not be regulated, the CPUC now lacks the authority to impose any regulation or tax on the text messages of California residents.

“In light of the FCC’s action, assigned Commissioner Carla J. Peterman has withdrawn from the CPUC’s Jan. 10, 2019 Voting Meeting agenda the draft decision in Docket R.17-06-023, which proposed to clarify that text messaging service should be subject to the [state of California’s[ statutory surcharge requirement,” the California regulatory board announced Friday.

The plan to tax text messages emerged last month after the CPUC released a report revealing that the agency’s budget for its so-called Public Purpose Program needs more money.

The program provides taxpayer-subsidized services (including free phones) to low-income residents. Within the last seven years, its budget has spiked from $670 million to $998 million.

“This is unsustainable over time,” the commission maintained, adding that its preferred solution would be to simply impose additional taxes on working-class Americans.

California’s already-fed-up residents strongly disagreed.

Below is a rehash of some of the criticism that’d been leveled at the CPUC :

“Taxing texts isn’t just regressive, it’s also unnecessary,” Assemblywoman Marie Waldron told a local news station prior to the tax’s cancellation. “The state is flush with cash, while ordinary Californians are struggling. The idea of increasing taxes on anything right now is absurd.”

California has in recent years suffered a reduction in new jobs and an exodus of residents fleeing the state because of the constant introduction of new taxes and regulations.

Because of the state’s sordid history, not everybody is convinced the text messaging tax is permanently gone. Some suspect the regulatory board may try again in the future.


“You can bet I’ll keep a watchful eye on the CPUC for future attempts to tax our text messages, but for now we will consider the Text Tax canceled,” state Assemblyman Jim Patterson said.

The sentiment from others has been similar.



Vivek Saxena


Latest Articles