Tuesday, December 2, 2008

¡Pueblo Loco! Cellphone Taxes In The Land Of Leftism

Today, my family faced the not-so-unusual dilemma of how to check in for our flight tomorrow on Southwest exactly 24 hours before the flight. Since we were planning to be eating at Phil's, a great barbecue restaurant in San Diego, at that exact moment, we concluded we would need to use our cellphones.

I was concerned that we didn't have data access on our Verizon plans, so I went to their website and pulled up a copy of our bill to check things out. It turned out that we did have enough of a data plan to check in using mobile.southwest.com -- very convenient.

But along the way, I happened to page down to the taxes and fees for our cellphone plan, and I noticed something strange:

CA State 911 Fee .44
CA State High Cost Fund (B) .21
CA Teleconnect Fund Surchg .06
CA State High Cost Fund (A) .11
Lifeline Surcharge - CA .98
CA Advanced Svrcs Fund (CASF) .21
CA Relay Srvc/Comm Device Fund .17
Oakland City Uut 6.34

Apparently I've been paying $8.52 a month in semi-hidden taxes for the privilege of having a cellphone while living in Oakland. The Oakland portion of the tax bill is clearly insane, but the California part seemed reasonable to me.

That is, until I started researching the matter. According to Forbes, California residents enjoy one of the highest rates of cellphone taxation in the country.

On the one hand, this strikes me as just more of the same. Liberal regimes always find new and creative ways to tax people -- preferably using mechanisms that are very difficult to detect. The goal is not to be up front about government costs and expenditures but to hide the costs.

Alternately, a cellphone tax clearly is regressive, since lower income people are just as likely to have phones as those in the higher income brackets. So, much like Oakland's much-loved parcel taxes, I view this tax as another item pushing the poor out of our city -- undeniably a good thing.

I kept reading, and I found another article about a man who simply changed his cellphone billing address to Idaho to save money.

I noted that he discussed in the article that Nevada has the lowest cellphone taxes of all.

Eureka! As most of my readers know, I maintain a Nevada Headquarters for just this sort of contingency. I called Verizon forthwith and changed my billing address to the Nevada HQ. That's $8.52 a month I won't be paying any more.

Anyone want to rent a mailbox in Nevada?

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog mostly for the intellectual content but now you are going to save me some $, and if there's anything I can do to not give money to OAK city government I'm willing to try!