Heartland Institute Experts React to Today’s Wireless Tax Moratorium Vote

The U.S. House of Representatives this evening will vote on the Wireless Tax Fairness Act, which would place a five-year moratorium on new taxes on mobile phones and other wireless items. The measure enjoys broad bipartisan support and is expected to pass.

The following statements from tax and technology experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

“There is no legitimate reason that the combined tax rate on mobile devices should be twice as high as the tax on other goods and services. Protecting taxpayers from these discriminatory taxes for the next five years will help foster growth in an industry that is on the front lines of innovation and job creation.

“In particular, lower-income consumers will reap the biggest benefits and will be able to enjoy more access to wireless devices.”

John Nothdurft
Director of Government Relations
The Heartland Institute

“A moratorium on wireless taxes is welcome, but a rollback would’ve been a more meaningful method of putting money back into the pockets of consumers. If the national average state and local wireless tax is twice the national average state sales tax, it would make sense to place an 8 percent or even lower cap on the amount of fees and taxes charged.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Managing Editor, InfoTech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute

“I’m glad there appears to be broad bipartisan support for this bill in Congress but am dismayed that some local government officials oppose it. Wireless services are already heavily taxed. If state and local officials want to keep piling taxes onto wireless service, the result will be fewer people using wireless service or people spending less money on other things to cover the higher wireless taxes.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News

“It’s good that Congress recognizes that the taxes states are imposing on wireless service are exorbitant and unfair. These taxes hurt our most economically vulnerable individuals and small businesses. But states have the right to bleed their citizens dry if they want. If this bill becomes law, states and local governments will just take the money out of another pocket of the same taxpayers. It will benefit the wireless industry but no one else.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.