Add Wisconsin's cell phone tax to the list of temporary tax hikes that are anything but temporary.
Earlier this year we reported on Governor Jim Doyle's proposed budget with $1.7 billion in higher taxes, as well as his "state economic stimulus bill" that amounted to $1.2 billion in tax hikes. Now, Doyle has announced further proposals to rectify the state's $6.6 billion overspending problem, including extending the tax on cell phones.
In 2003, the state created the cell phone tax to upgrade 911 response services. When the upgrade was done, it left a balance of $20 million in the state's coffers, which was slated to be returned back to consumers as a credit on their phone bill.
However, Gov. Doyle has now proposed extending the cell phone tax, raising it by 75-cents, and then making it applicable to all landlines as well. Oh, then he would then add another 56-cent tax to cell phones for the state's Universal Service Fund, which has nothing to do with cell phone usage. All told, the proposal amounts to a $100 million per year tax increase on cell phone users.
The latest round of budget fixes also includes raiding the $165 million hospital tax just passed in February. While the tax hike was originally sold as a way to provide increased care for medical assistance patients, it would now go toward fixing Governor Doyle's fiscal mismanagement.
The proposals are currently being considered by the Joint Committee on Finance, which is aiming to complete the FY2009-2011 budget by the end of the month.
CLICK HERE NOW to write the Governor and your state lawmakers urging them to oppose any new tax increases in the Wisconsin budget.
(photo by imdrugfree)