Lawmakers Consider Placing Surcharge On Monthly Cell Phone Bills – Hartford Courant
With seemingly everyone having a cell phone nowadays, state negotiators are considering raising millions in tax money through a monthly surcharge.
One of the newest items up for discussion in the closed-door budget talks is a monthly surcharge on all cell phone bills at either $1 or 50 cents.
But a knowledgeable negotiator predicted Wednesday that the proposed $1 charge would be dropped to 50 cents or taken out of the package altogether before the overall deal is finalized.
The point of the cell phone charge, the insider said, was that it was a âwidespread revenue sourceââ that would affect huge numbers of consumers and was ârecurringââ so that the state would continue to receive tax money.
At 50 cents per month, the state would receive a projected $8 million to $9 million in the first year and about $16 million in the second year, based on statistics at the Capitol. At $1 per month, the cell phone charge would raise about $17 million in the first year and $32 million in the second year.
But Democratic insiders cautioned that the situation was fluid and could change. No final agreement on the cell phone charge has been made, officials said.
âI donât think itâll be in there,ââ a negotiator said. âEither a lesser amount or out.ââ
Rep. John Hampton, a fiscally conservative Democratic swing voter from Simsbury, said he was opposed to the idea.
âI donât like it,ââ he said. âItâs just another sneaky way to hit people up for more taxes.ââ
In a fast-changing atmosphere, insiders said that only two weeks ago, virtually everyone at the Capitol believed that an increase in the state sales tax was virtually guaranteed to be in the final package. Now, that has been dropped.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who did not propose the cell phone tax, told reporters Wednesday in Windsor Locks that he would consider it.
âIâm gonna go back to the office and take a look at it,ââ Malloy said. âAlmost all states have a tax on cell phones of some type. Some more, some less. Iâll take a look at that when I get back to the office later. There is a reality that if you want to spend money, you have to raise money. If you want to support municipalities, you have to have the money to support them with. â¦ But Iâve not made final endorsement on anything because I havenât gotten a finalââ budget package.
âI donât want to understate progress,ââ he said of the budget talks. âProgress is being made.ââ
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