California considering text messaging tax

Your text messages could soon face a state tax.

California regulators are considering charging a fee for text messaging to support programs that make phone service accessible to low-income residents.

'This isn’t very creative it's just political bs!” said Consumer Watchdog’s leader Jamie Court. He is fired up about the California Public Utiltiy Commission’s plan to charge a fee for text messaging.

“I find it appalling that there is going to be a text tax because it’s so visceral it’s so anti-consumer and we haven’t established a need for it.” said Court.

“In the grand scheme of things if it helps somebody who is like in danger or their kid is sick or something like that you know they need to get picked up I’m all for it.” said Los Angeles resident Anthony Bourus.

According to a CPUC report, revenue for the program is falling as more people drop landlines and make fewer voice calls in favor of texting. The state reportedly lost more than five billion dollars from 2011 to 2017.

A spokesperson for the CPUC says the tax would likely have little to no impact on consumers because while a fee would be assessed for texting their fees for voice calls would be less.

The plan will be discussed when the California Public Utilities Commission meets in January 2019.

The specific text message fees haven't been released yet.

Some business groups say the new consumer charges could be more than $44 million a year, and the wireless industry says carriers would be at a disadvantage with free messaging services such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger.

FOX 11 reported on this story from Los Angeles.

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