WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National non-profit wireless consumer advocacy coalition MyWireless.org® today recognized the leadership of Chairman Howard Coble (R-NC) after the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law hearing on recently re-introduced H.R. 1002, the bipartisan 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act.' This important legislation now joins its Senate companion bill, S. 543, the bipartisan 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act,' which was also recently re-introduced and referred for consideration by the Senate Finance Committee last week. The original sponsors of these bills are Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Trent Franks (R-AZ), and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), respectively.
This strongly-supported (158 co-sponsors by today's hearing date), bipartisan, and overwhelmingly pro-consumer House bill calls for a 5-year break from all new, discriminatory state and local wireless taxes and fees for hundreds of millions of American wireless consumers. On behalf of those consumers, MyWireless.org thanks the timely leadership shown by the original sponsors of both these bills, for stepping up for consumers during continuing tough economic times by supporting a measure of much-needed pocketbook relief.
On average, American wireless consumers now pay approximately 16.3% in combined government taxes, fees and surcharges on every monthly bill. That's more than double the average sales tax paid on other general goods and services, which is approximately 7.4%. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia now have wireless tax and fee rates that exceed the average tax rate on other goods and services. The national tax burden faced by wireless consumers is about $21 billion dollars annually.
Brian Johnston, Director of Advocacy for MyWireless.org, said, "The name of the legislation says it all. This is about fairness for American wireless consumers, and we congratulate Chairman Coble and the bill's sponsors and co-sponsors for acting on behalf of so many of their own constituents to put the brakes on runaway taxes and fees. Wireless users are prime targets for unfair state and local taxation, and the 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act' is a step in the right direction to fight against discriminatory charges."
"We look forward to working with full committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to soon move the bill on out for a public vote on the House Floor, also to move the companion bill through the Senate, and ultimately to see the President sign this important legislation into law," said Johnston. "Simply put, American wireless users deserve a break from excessive taxes on communicating – wireless should remain affordable and accessible for ALL Americans."