Wednesday, June 17, 2015

U.S. Senate Should Emulate Florida's Wireless Tax Cuts

On June 15th, Florida’s House and Senate passed legislation which would save the state’s taxpayers $430 million. Included in these tax cuts is a $100 million annual Communication Service Tax reduction on wireless services.
Although this legislation does not cut wireless taxes as much as Governor Rick Scott’s proposal outlined (see here), it is certainly a positive step for Florida wireless consumers, who currently pay the 4th highest wireless tax rate in the country. Effective July 1st, Florida residents will see their wireless tax rates decrease by 1.73 percentage points. This may seem small but considering that 56 percent of all poor American adults had only wireless Internet service as of December 2013, this will substantially benefit low-income Florida residents.
As I posted in a blog back in April 2015, the United States Congress should emulate Florida’s approach on wireless taxation. The House of Representatives did so last week when it passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 235), which bans state and local taxes on Internet access. Now, the Senate should quickly pass its version of the bill, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (S. 431). Permanently banning taxes on Internet access would help keep the Internet affordable to the poorest Americans and would lead to additional market-driven innovation, content, and economic growth.