Will California tax text messages?

December 13, 2018

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is proposing a fee on text messages that would fund public telecommunications programs such as subsidized phone rates for low-income residents. [SF Chronicle]

It is likely the fee would be billed as a flat surcharge, rather than a per text rate. It is unclear how much money customers would be asked to pay their wireless carriers for texting services under the PUC proposal.

Initially, the proposal was scheduled for a vote Thursday. But, it is being held for further review until a commission meeting next month.

The wireless industry, which is opposing the proposed text messaging surcharge, has argued the PUC does not have the legal grounds to impose the fee. Jim Wunderman, the president of the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored advocacy group, said he is unaware of any local, state or federal program that taxes texting.

Currently, California’s public telecommunications programs are faced with rising expenses associated with subsidizing low-income users and declining revenue from taxes on phone calls as people are making fewer voice calls.

A PUC staff report says the Public Purpose Program budget has increased from $670 million in 2011 to $998 million last year. Meanwhile, the telecommunications industry revenue that funds the program decreased from $16.5 billion in 2011 to $11.3 billion in 2017.

The PUC says the budget is not sustainable, and it claims a surcharge on text messages may be a wash for consumers because the commission would need to collect less revenue from voice calls.

Jorge Estrada

Actually there is allot of missing taxes due to the disconnecting of land lines and somebody is missing the revenue. How about just taxing people for living in California, I’d gladly pay a thousand dollars a year residence tax so we can make this a utopia and be the happiest place in the world. We know that government is efficient, does what is best for all and will not cheat us out of more money. Just a thousand dollars from a couple of million workers and we can fund open borders, affordable housing, phones for everyone and free laughing grass for those who can believe this.


Whoa wait a minute? A thousand dollars a year residence tax. Shhhh, don’t give them anymore ideas or will be paying an additional tax for the illegals that reside in the state too.


Goodby Golden Bear hello Red Star.


Socialism in the making?


The following sentence would indicate that its up to the customer to decide whether to pay the tax, unfortunately that’s not how the Democrats in office see it.

“…It is unclear how much money customers would be asked to pay their wireless carriers for texting services under the PUC proposal…”

The ironic thing about this is that the PUC is tasked with watching out for the customers. You know, the ones being “asked” to pay this new tax.

“…the stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas…”


If the wireless industry had proposed this the GOVT/PUC would shut it down, but because someone in the GOVT came up with this rip off and gets the PUC to b ring it forth it is OK, they have areason for this and its not to help anyone but themselves, there is a pork barrel that needs an influx of money someplace.

Like our calfire tax where are are rebates now that we don’t pay it any longer.


Make it easy and just go door to door in the affluent looking neighborhoods and rob all them at gunpoint. Rob’inhood rides again. $15 an hour, a free cell phone, free bus pass, free medical, free food stamps, free meals for the kids in school, Hell, why go to work anymore?


No wonder they are running out of money see a family of six and each one of them with a cell phone.That is why they run out of phone numbers.Also will the subsides pay the tax. nOPE


No mention of ever trimming back, or heaven forbid cutting any fat. The answer is always to tax more, and more, and more. One has to wonder when we will have had our fill like the Parisians.


Liberals love taxes. The gas tax vote proved this. Might as well add another tax to our over taxed state.


Don’t forget, that sob Ca attorney general committed a fraud against the voters by changing the title of that proposition to confuse the voters… and it worked.