California Running Out of Other People's Money to Tax

To paraphrase a Thatcher paraphrase, socialism works until you run out of other people's money. And then you start taxing Netflix and text messages. On its way to bankruptcy, Chicago managed to do impose some ingenious taxes. Now California is following suit.

A California regulator's plan to tax texts in order to fund cellphones for the poor hit a snag Wednesday after a Federal Communications Commission ruled text messages aren't subject to the utility agency's authority.

The decision by the FCC, which categorized text messages as "information services" on par with emails and not "telecommunications services," came in an effort to combat robo-texts and spam messages. The California Public Utilities Commission now faces an uphill battle ahead of a scheduled vote on the measure next month.

Those opposed to the planned tax hailed the FCC decision a victory.

“We hope that the CPUC recognizes that taxing text messages is bad for consumers,” Jamie Hastings, senior vice president of external and state affairs for CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry, told The Mercury News. “Taxing this service would burden those who rely on and use this service each and every day.”

To quote the Beatles, "If you drive a car, I'll tax the street, If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat. If you get too cold I'll tax the heat, If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet."

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