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Congress re-mulls ban on wireless tax

Grassroots movement comes from rather rich soil

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The Cell Tax Fairness Act is back, despite having failed to get through Congress last year. The five-year moratorium on local and state wireless taxes is again at the committee stage.

The act is proposed by Zoe Lofgren, rep from California's 16th District, but backed by 20 co-sponsors who also want to see states banned from taxing wireless services, or service providers, for five years in the same way that internet commerce taxation is banned.

It can be argued that the wireless business contributes more than its share to government coffers already - spectrum licensing and taxation puts 15 per cent of the average American's wireless communications bill into government hands, according to the industry coalition, the CTIA.

The bill is also backed by self-proclaimed "grassroots" consumer advocacy group MyWireless.org, which would be more impressive if MyWireless.org weren’t bankrolled by the CTIA and orchestrated by Grassroots Enterprise: tag line "If we build it, they will come".

The wireless industry is reeling from the news it will be expected to stump up $4.8bn towards Obama's new deal, so doesn't want to look like a soft touch to states who are having problems with their own budgets. ®

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