Not including thanguphe new margin tax surcharge from Sprint, Texans already paid 18 percent of their telephone bill in government taxes and fees. That's outrageous. Why shouldn't the same sales tax apply to telephone bills as to every other purchase?

Now, the Associated Press reports that the $210 million in telephone taxes that goes into the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund is now longer being used for its intended purpose (telecommunications services for schools, libraries, and hospitals in rural areas), but rather diverted into general revenues. Earth to Texas lawmakers: its 2007 and Texas rural areas have telephone service and, in many instances, even high-speed Internet!

In 2003, Governor Perry correctly called for the repeal of this 1.25 percent tax on Texans' telephone bills, but the Legislature failed to act. Fortunately, two bills to repeal this unnecessary tax have been filed this session. With the money Texans save from repealing this tax, college students will no longer have an excuse for not calling their parents.

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