House committee passes bill that would ban new cell phone taxes

A House Judiciary subcommittee today passed a bill that would ban new taxes on cell phones.

A House Judiciary subcommittee Wednesday passed the Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2009 (H.R. 1521), which was first introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). The bipartisan bill, which now has 194 co-sponsor, would ban new state or local taxes on mobile phones for the next five years. Currently, cell phone consumers spend on average more than 15 percent in taxes on their wireless service.

In a letter written early this year supporting the bill, the National Taxpayers Union, which advocates for American taxpayers, claimed that between 2003 and 2007, taxes on cell phone service increased four times faster than those imposed on other general goods and services.

The bill would not affect current taxes. It also wouldn't ban new federal taxes, nor would it apply to fees that subsidize emergency 911 services and contributions to the Universal Service Fund, which helps fund rural phone service and phone service for low-income residents.

For more on this story, read Cell phone tax 'fairness' bill moves forward on CNET News.