WASHINGTON, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National wireless consumer coalition MyWireless.org® today lauded the leadership of Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and John Thune (R-SD), after the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing to consider the implications of tax reform, and how it relates to state and local tax and fiscal policy. Pro-consumer wireless tax bills S. 543, the 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act,' and S. 971, the 'Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act,' featured prominently in the Senators' discussion of tax reform before the committee. After today's discussion by the committee these overwhelmingly bipartisan bills now await consideration by the full Senate.
Wyden-Snowe, S. 543, calls for a 5-year break, or moratorium, from all new, discriminatory state and local wireless taxes being placed on wireless consumers. On average, the American wireless consumer now pays more than 16% on every monthly bill in combined government taxes, fees and surcharges – more than double the average sales tax paid on other general goods and services. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has determined that the 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act' will impose no cost to state, local or tribal governments. The Lofgren-Franks companion bill, H.R. 1002, was unanimously approved by voice vote in the House on November 1st of last year.
Wyden-Thune, S. 971, would place a fair, responsible framework around the taxation of purchases of digital commerce – goods and services such as apps, ringtones, e-books, music and videos, as well as streaming, downloading and cloud services – which are currently faced with potentially multiple jurisdictional taxation based upon interstate commerce over the course of the transaction. The bill would ensure that a consumer is taxed only one time (where the wireless device is registered, and where the consumer's monthly bill is received) for their digital purchase. An identical Reps Smith-Cohen companion bill (H.R. 1860) is currently before the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
Brian Johnston, director of advocacy for MyWireless.org, said, "Today's committee proceedings were a shining example in a dead-locked Washington of pro-taxpayer, pro-consumer, and completely bipartisan compromise across the aisle. The 'Wireless Tax Fairness Act' is a positive illustration of leadership from both parties coming together to support sensible wireless tax relief for hundreds of millions of American consumers. The 'Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act' shows that Senators clearly understand the fairness of consumers being taxed once when they purchase a digital good, particularly in this mobile day and age." Johnston continued, "We appreciate the Senate Finance Committee's standing up and defending wireless users across this country from more unfair, new state and local wireless taxation. We look forward to working with Senate Majority Leader Reid, Majority Whip Durbin, Minority Leader McConnell and Minority Whip Kyl to move these popular bills forward soon for a vote on the Senate floor."
In these uncertain economic times of recovery, MyWireless.org calls on the Senate, and Congress as a whole, to give American wireless users a break from excessive taxes on communicating by supporting these simple measures of tax relief. On behalf of more than 300 million American wireless consumers, MyWireless.org today expresses thanks to the timely leadership shown by the Chairman and Ranking Member, to each of the original sponsors of the bills, and to the committee members themselves for holding this important state and local tax reform hearing, where these important bills could be heard.
MyWireless.org® is a national nonpartisan non-profit advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from around the country, supporting reasonable pro-consumer and pro-taxpayer wireless policies.