Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Communication Tax

Over at Too Conservative, Riley is upset at HB 568 which will change the communication taxes from a jumbled list of fees and taxes to a flat 5% on all communications services (cell phones, landlines, cable and satellite TV, etc) . It passed committee 14-7 with both GOPs and dems voting for and against the bill.
He is upset that internet phone and satellite TV will now be subject to this tax, and currently they are not subject to taxation.
Personally, I see no problem with this bill. I understand it to be a revenue neutral action, so there is no increase in net taxes. I don't know why cable TV subscribers should be forced to pay extra tax that satellite users don't have to pay. Its seems to me this bill would make the taxation more fair.
If I misunderstood the purpose of the bill, please correct me.

UPDATE: Hirons at Too Conservative is reporting the bill has passed the House. It now goes to the Senate for discussion and a vote. I have no idea whether it is predicted to win approval or not.


  • At 1/25/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger James E. Martin said…

    The fact is that the current legislation was written well before most of the current communications technologies came on line (before anyone thought of satellite or wireless technology). Its like taxing the telegraph but not the telephone.

    Basically their updating the laws to fit the technology.

  • At 1/25/2006 4:38 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Thanks for the insight, that was somewhat my feeling as well.
    They are trying to standardize the fee structure.

  • At 1/26/2006 4:37 PM, Blogger Hirons said…

    Satillite and VOIP are still emerging technology. Taxing them does nothing but hamper future development.

    The net result of this bill maybe revenue neutral, but it's still wrong. It removes choice from the consumers.

    It's a bad idea, at this time in the development of these technologies.

  • At 1/26/2006 5:14 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    I dont have the numbers on satellite TV, but I really dont consider it an "emerging technology" when I would venture to guess over 20% of all TV customers have it.
    VOIP may be a bit different.

  • At 1/27/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Bob Lawson said…

    I would say that since there are physical lines that cover the state providing Cable TV, that it be taxed at the standard rate. Satellite on the other hand only has a physical presence on the individual consumers’ private property only. I would like to see the consumer be able to choose to communicate with anyone they want without using lines over public property, and not be taxed for it. Maybe we should find a way to tax someone if they go across the street to borrow some sugar and happen to say something to their neighbor. (Maybe tax per word)

    I would view VOIP a little differently, you are not paying for someone to come and hook up your home for VOIP only for the internet, I see this as an internet tax and should be avoided. Why punish someone for finding a way that saves them money and provides the same service? I think it is a bad precedence to start taxing internet purchases.

  • At 1/27/2006 3:36 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    Why is taxing cable TV different than satellite?
    Just b/c cable is on your property and satellite is in thre air shouldnt make a difference.
    We can argue whether either of these should be taxed, but if you tax one I dont see why the other shouldnt be taxed equally.

  • At 1/29/2006 9:54 PM, Blogger spankthatdonkey said…

    What do the taxes actually fund?? If I might be so bold?? Just another way to get $2-3 bucks off every household in VA???

  • At 1/29/2006 11:24 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    That is a very good question.
    I have a feeling your assessment of its purpose is very correct.
    The 911 surcharge is the only part that has a specific purpose that I know of.


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