WASHINGTON- Today, the House of Representatives gave taxpayers across the country a huge victory. By a margin of 420 to 2, the House voted to eliminate the 3 percent federal excise tax on telecommunications.
Two members of the House, Fortney "Pete" Stark (D-CA) and John Murtha (D- PA), voted against the repeal of this outdated tax.
On behalf of all taxpayers, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, issued the following statement in celebration of this important vote:
"January of this year marked the third century in which Americans have paid this \’luxury\’ tax and it\’s high time that taxpayers got an honorable discharge from it.
"Congress enacted the tax in 1898 as a funding mechanism to support the Spanish-American War. At the time, only a handful of wealthy Americans could afford telephone service, making the levy a \’luxury\’ tax that has not only outlived the war, but also outlived its usefulness. This tax makes the Spanish-American War the most expensive in U.S. history for taxpayers. Today it costs Americans roughly $5 billion each year.
"The two members of Congress who voted against repealing this regressive tax, Stark and Murtha, will both be awarded our Enemy of the Taxpayer award.
"This battle demonstrates just how difficult it is to get a tax off the books. Taxpayer advocates have been fighting this tax for more than a century and only today, with the help of our many friends of the taxpayers in Congress, were we able to finally get this regressive tax off the books.
"We will continue the battle to repeal this tax in the Senate. It has been a long and arduous battle but the end is in sight. This is a tremendous victory for American taxpayers."