House Committee Unanimously Hangs Up on Telephone Tax - Texas Scorecard

The Lone Star Report brings us the following good news:

The House Regulated Industries committee unanimously voted Feb. 21 to tphoneeliminate the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF). The tax on consumers’ phone bill was created in 1995 to help wire schools, libraries and colleges for the Internet. TIF was supposed to end after 10 years or after it raised $1.5 billion, whichever came first. However in 2005, the Legislature removed the tax’s expiration date. Since 2003, the tax was used to fund general revenue and is no longer used for its original purpose.

A few lawmakers, including Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) have since argued that the fund has achieved its goal and needs to be eliminated. Likewise, Gov. Rick Perry indicated in his State of the State speech his support of ending TIF.

Author of the bill, HB 735, is Rep. Joe Straus (R-San Antonio), who said: “These days we could pay our 30-year mortgage through automatic withdrawals from our bank accounts and when that 30 years is up and the bill is paid in full we expect the bank to stop dipping into our wallets.  But what if the bank just ignored when the mortgage was paid and kept deducting money from our account? We would react at that at the very least with the demand that the deductions cease. Right now, one could argue that Texas is behaving like that bank that ignores when the mortgage is paid… The Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund is a prime example of a situation where the… payment timeline has ended but the deductions from the taxpayers has not.”

The elimination of the tax would save consumers $211 million a year.

 

Please ask your House and Senate member to follow the Committee's unanimous recommendations and once and for all get ride of this outdated tax that exacts a completely unnecessary toll on every Texas family's telephone conversations.