Wireless consumers across the United States continue to face excessive and discriminatory federal, state, and local taxes and fees on their wireless bills, says a new report, which finds Nebraska paying a whopping 23.69 percent.
The report A Growing Burden: Taxes and Fees on Wireless Service by KSE Partners found a reversal of the trend toward lower taxes, fees, and government charges on wireless service since 2007.
According to KSE, the average U.S. wireless consumer now faces a combined federal, state, and local tax and fee burden of 16.3 percent, the highest level since 2005 and more than double the average 7.42 percent rate imposed on other general goods and services.
Although federal, state, and local taxes and fees all contribute to the high burden on wireless consumers, KSE says the recent increase in rates is mostly attributable to the rapid growth in the rate of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) surcharge to 5.05 percent an increase of 0.9 percentage points since 2007.
Nebraska retained its designation as the state with the highest rate on wireless consumers, at 23.69 percent, followed by Washington with a 23 percent rate. Rounding out the top five high-rate states are New York with 22.83 percent, Florida with 21.62 percent, and Illinois 20.9 percent.
There is no sound policy reason to tax wireless and other communications services at these high rates, says Scott Mackey partner at KSE Partners and lead author of the report.
Wireless consumers face the lowest burdens in Oregon with 6.86 percent, Nevada with 7.13 percent, Idaho with 7.25 percent, Montana with 11.08 percent, and West Virginia with 11.28 percent.
Mackey says reform of these antiquated tax systems would lower costs to businesses and consumers, expand the use of advanced wireless services, and help create jobs by making the American workforce more productive.
Those changes would position states to attract additional wireless infrastructure investments that generate economic growth through the new jobs and revenue growth they produce, concludes Mackey.
Top 10 States With Highest Wireless Taxes:
* Nebraska - 23.69 percent
* Washington - 23.00 percent
* New York - 22.83 percent
* Florida - 21.62 percent
* Illinois - 20.90 percent
* Rhode Island - 19.67 percent
* Missouri - 19.28 percent
* Pennsylvania - 19.13 percent
* Kansas - 18.39 percent
* Texas - 17.48 percent
Top 10 States With Lowest Wireless Taxes:
* Oregon - 6.86 percent
* Nevada - 7.13 percent
* Idaho - 7.25 percent
* Montana - 11.08 percent
* West Virginia - 11.28 percent
* Delaware - 11.30 percent
* Louisiana - 11.33 percent
* Virginia - 11.61 percent
* Alaska - 11.74 percent
* Connecticut - 12.01 percent