California regulators are currently contemplating whether residents would have to pay a fee on text messages from their cellphones.
The proposed tax would help fund programs in the state that provides low-income Californians with phone service and will be discussed further during the January 2019 meeting by the California Public Utilities Commission.
The rational from California regulators is this: Text messaging uses the same cell towers as phone calls, yet do not face similar fees—particularly in the era where voice calls have dropped precipitously over the last number of years.
A number of business groups are already criticizing the bill, saying that Californians could start seeing taxes of over $44 million annually. Other wireless carriers, like Apple, might be immune from the charges because of apps like iMessage.
The exact amount of the fee has not yet been decided.
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