text messaging

California is considering a proposal to charge a text messaging fee to fund social programs that make mobile phone service accessible to low-income residents.

The California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to vote on the controversial proposal next month, according to Fox News.

Cell phone owners are understandably upset about the proposal to tax text messages. The charges would impact heavy users who send thousands of text messages a month.

The Commission is also considering applying the charges retroactively to messages sent in the past 5 years. That means consumers could be hit with hundreds of dollars in fees for text messages they sent 5 years ago.

The state tax would be costly for teenagers and young adults who use text messaging more than any other mode of communication. Some teens send 1,500 to 3,000 text messages a month.

“It’s a dumb idea,” Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council business group, told the San Jose Mercury News. “This is how conversations take place in this day and age, and it’s almost like saying there should be a tax on the conversations we have.”

While the amount the Commission will charge for texts isn’t clear, some business groups are saying the new fees could cost wireless users more than $44 million a year, FOX11 Los Angeles reported.

Rufus Jeffress, Vice President of the Bay Area Council, told KNTV-TV the new proposal sets an “alarming precedent” and could cost California residents more than $220 million, the Mercury News reported.

The Wireless industry argues that the fees would put carriers at a disadvantage since competing messaging services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger would not be charged the new fees, FOX11 reported.

Residents are fed up with high taxes in California. A tax on text messaging is not welcome news to residents who are already burdened with the high cost of living.

“To have them charge us something else is just dumb,” a Bay Area resident told KNTV. “I think it’s very unfair, especially for the people that can barely pay for their cell phone plan already.”

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