Policy Documents

The Leaflet - Wireless Taxes for Water Skiing

February 6, 2014

Wireless Taxes for Water Skiing

For years state wireless and cell phone taxes have grown steadily without raising any significant alarm. This is surprising given that wireless taxes in many states are up to three times higher than the state sales tax. These discriminatory and excessive tax rates unduly burden low- and middle-income families that already are being pinched by high tax rates in other areas. Wireless taxes also discourage investment by cellular companies into new technologies and new markets. And yet, West Virginia has just proposed increasing wireless taxes as a way to pay for promoting skiing and white water rafting in the state.

Federal lawmakers are taking steps towards ending wireless tax increases. The Wireless Tax Fairness Act, introduced in June of last year, has gained bipartisan support. Its adoption would slow down arbitrary wireless tax increases that regressively target those who can least afford to pay by freezing any new state and local cell phone taxes for five years. According to a recent MyWireless.org National Tax Survey, nearly two-thirds (61%) of adult wireless consumers support such a moratorium.

As John Nothdurft, director of government relations at The Heartland Institute, has stated in the past, new discriminatory cell phone taxes “will hinder the growth of an industry that is on the front lines of innovation and job creation.”

Health Care

Research & Commentary: The Next Wave of Obamacare Cancellations

In this Somewhat Reasonable article, originally published at NCPA.org, Greg Scandlen, a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute, examines how many employers are now beginning to receive the same cancellation letters that went to millions of people in the individual market late last year. “Contrary to many press reports this affects not just the small group market, but all fully-insured health plans. Very few meet the requirements of ‘essential benefits’ of Obamacare, which include things like pediatric dental coverage.” Read More

Budget & Tax

Research & Commentary: Should Illinois Move to a Progressive Tax System? 

Just a few years ago Illinois’ tax competitiveness compared well to its neighbors and other states. Illinois’ ranking plunged from the 17th most competitive tax climate for businesses in 2010 to 31st in 2014 as a result of the large tax increases on individuals and businesses passed in 2011. Instead of working to improve the state’s tax climate and encourage businesses to build and expand in Illinois, several state lawmakers are considering new tax proposals to move away from the current flat tax to a progressive tax. In this Research & Commentary, Matthew Glans argues that legislators should focus on making the state a more attractive place for businesses and workers by restraining spending, lowering taxes, and reducing unnecessary regulations. Read More

Telecom

Reasearch and Commentary: West Virginia Wireless Taxes for Tourism

In January, West Virginia state Sen. H. Truman Chafin proposed a $10 million increase in the tax on wireless services to increase funding for the West Virginia Division of Tourism. Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans argues in this Research & Commentary that using wireless tax dollars to fund tourism improvements is a gross misuse of state taxing powers. “Instead of imposing an additional burden on taxpayers, who saw their per-taxpayer tax burden rise to $18,600 in 2012, West Virginia legislators should focus on reducing state spending, which has soared, increasing by as much as 43 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the National Taxpayers Union.” Read More

Education

Why Iowa Should Pass Education Savings Accounts

Education savings accounts give parents the ability to make impactful decisions about what is best for their children’s education, and states across the country are beginning to realize that. Iowa is one of those states with an education savings account bill currently alive in the legislature. “This is gonna be real helpful for parents that want to make a real choice in where to send their child to school,” said Thomas Chapman, executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference. Read More

Environment

Build the Keystone XL Pipeline, Already! 

In his State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama vowed that he will “act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.” If the president means it, why has the Keystone XL project not yet been approved? Read More