Washington Voters Oppose Adding New 6% Local Utility Tax on Wireless Services in Overwhelming Fashion

Feb 23, 2012, 15:50 ET from MyWireless.org


Washington Voters Oppose Adding New 6% Local Utility Tax on Wireless Services in Overwhelming Fashion

New bi-partisan poll finds Washingtonians also believe they already pay too much in taxes and fees for wireless services, and they want to prevent new tax increases.

OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An overwhelming majority of Washingtonians oppose their county being able to add a new 6% local utility tax on wireless services, according to the results of a new bi-partisan statewide survey released today by non-profit consumer advocacy group MyWireless.org®.

Legislation (SB 2728/HB 2127) has been introduced in Olympia in both chambers of the state legislature that would allow counties to levy a 6% local utility tax each month on some wireless consumers (dependent upon where they live) in the state. Nearly 4 in 5 surveyed (79%) oppose the proposed tax hike, and two-thirds surveyed (66%) "strongly" oppose it. This opposition to the proposal is widespread – consensus exists across all voter groups regardless of political affiliation and demographics.

Of the 400 Washington cell phone users and likely voters polled statewide, top findings include:

  • By greater than a 6 to 1 ratio (79% to 11%), an overwhelming majority oppose their county adding a new 6% local utility tax to wireless phone service. Two-thirds (66%) of those "strongly" oppose the proposed new tax.
  • Even among likely voters who don't have a wireless phone, the majority oppose this tax (56% to 17%).
  • The majority (51%) of wireless phone consumers in Washington believe they pay "too much" in taxes and fees on their wireless phone bills. About one-quarter (23%) say they pay "about the right amount." Only (1%) think they don't pay enough and (25%) doesn't know.

"Many Washingtonians already pay the second-highest monthly wireless tax and fee rate in the country, and this new survey data clearly shows that wireless consumers in the Apple State think that any more increases are rotten to the core," said Brian Johnston, Director of Advocacy for MyWireless.org. "In some cities, customers pay nearly 18% in combined state and local taxes and fees, and it's nearly 23% when federal taxes and fees are included – all just to communicate. It's almost impossible to understand why the legislature wants to make these enormously unfair taxes and fees even higher, particularly in these times of economic recovery, and discourage people from using a service that gives them incomparable mobile broadband access that improves their personal and professional lives in so many extraordinary ways."

"We realize that the state of Washington is facing a significant budget shortfall, and we are empathetic to tough decisions being made in Olympia. But it is unfair and discriminatory to place such a large portion of revenue-raising on the backs of the more than 6 million hard-working Washington wireless consumers, their families, and their businesses," continued Johnston. "I think the research shows that Washington wireless consumers would be even more opposed to this kind of additional tax-and-fee burden if they were made more aware of the degree to which they are already assessed these high costs. Everyone is being forced to tighten their belts a little bit right now, and our polling tells us Washingtonian wireless users are saying enough is enough."

MyWireless.org® is a non-partisan non-profit national advocacy organization, made up of wireless consumers, businesses and community leaders from around the country, supporting reasonable pro-consumer and pro-taxpayer wireless policies. MyWireless.org commissioned McLaughlin & Associates to partner with Penn Schoen Berland to develop and conduct a bi-partisan survey in Washington among 400 likely general election voters. The survey was conducted on February 15-16, 2012. The accuracy of the sample of 400 likely general election voters is within +/- 4.9% at a 95% confidence interval.

SOURCE MyWireless.org