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“In light of the FCC’s action, assigned Commissioner Carla J. Peterman has withdrawn from the CPUC’s Jan. 10, 2019 Voting Meeting agenda the draft decision in Docket R.17-06-023, which proposed to clarify that text messaging service should be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.
— California PUC (@californiapuc) December 15, 2018
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.
You cannot make this up; “In this decision, the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) determines that text messaging services revenue should be subject to Public Purpose Program surcharges…. https://t.co/XvG2R2ezKi
— Phillip (@philliprcornel1) December 12, 2018
California’s already-fed-up residents strongly disagreed.
Below is a rehash of some of the criticism that’d been leveled at the CPUC :
Tax on Text Messaging in California to pay for Low Income cell phone users. Latest reason to get out of California. https://t.co/pDh3x2JnNM
— Monica Erion (@MonicaErion) December 12, 2018
— Tim O’Rourke (@Tim_ORourke) December 12, 2018
#CALIFORNIA next month the legislature is voting on whether or not to tax your text message in the future and going back 5 years. This is to fund #Californiaphones call your representatives and tell them NO!
— Don’t ShadowBan Me Bro (@USAForeverUSA) December 12, 2018
Only in California , what is next .. tax the air .
— Dale Chandler (@dale_coachdkc) December 12, 2018
Recall every legislator who advocates for the idiotic idea of taxing texts.
The day after this passes there will be zero texts as technology will have moved on. #SayNoToTextTax
— Tony Hogrebe (@hogrebe_tony) December 12, 2018
Yaye more overregulation and taxation! Jist waht californians with paycheck to paycheck jobs need…
— 1-15 Time To Tank SZN (@trappensteve) December 12, 2018
Every year we’re subjected to a new bloody tax. No more texting for me.
— Celeste Granillo (@Celestial32) December 12, 2018
This is what happens when liberals are voted in, nice work California
— ninamarie Boccuzzi (@nmboccuzzi) December 12, 2018
Doesn’t Californians get taxed enough ! ? give us a Frinkin break… Learn how to Budget instead of using us as your personal bank acct. Tax This Tax that ! No wonder people are moving out of California
— MsEagelfan (@RachelV91705549) December 12, 2018
“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.”
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.
BREAKING NEWS: The CPUC has cancelled the January vote on the #TextTax! You can bet I’ll keep a watchful eye on them for future shenanigans. For now…consider the Text Tax cancelled. pic.twitter.com/PK6b4CumeK
— Jim Patterson (@JimPatterson559) December 15, 2018
They will find another tax idea
— palwinder singh (@palwind78868722) December 16, 2018
Watch them reattempt this stupid proposal again. This state and all its agencies are money hungry. Once you give them a taste, they keep coming back.
— Carlos S (@jcarlosanjuan) December 16, 2018
So if the FCC didn’t rule against you you would be ok with double taxing the people of California? I mean they already pay taxes on their cell service right? People can only handle so much. Y’all are sick. The people of California aren’t there to serve you, you are there for them
— jeff brassfield (@JeffBrasfatica) December 16, 2018
All you guys want to do is “Tax, tax,tax” us for more $$$$ in your pockets!! ENOUGH ALREADY!!! DROP THIS IDIOTIC IDEA!!!
— Marilyn Akahoshi (@ma527681) December 16, 2018
California PUC is a disgrace. It’s not your role to help “the poor” get phones. The out of control taxing of everything is hurting people while you claim it’s intended to help others. Your largess with other peoples’ money is forcing people to leave CA & is destroying the state.
— STU (@bleachers138) December 16, 2018
As a native Californian you are an utter embarrassment.. the Press humiliated you, now FCC slaps ya… please issue an apology
— Jon Garnant (@jgarnant) December 16, 2018
It’s sad the FCC has to be the common sense party. CA has gone off the edge.
— Anthony (@A_Perez48) December 16, 2018
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