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Connolly, Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Eliminate the Telephone Excise Tax

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Congressman GT Thompson (R-PA) introduced the Telephone Excise Tax Repeal Act, bipartisan legislation to eliminate the three percent federal excise tax on local telephone service, toll telephone service, and teletype exchange services for the disabled.

The telephone excise tax, originally conceived as a mechanism to fund the Spanish-American War, is an antiquated and regressive tax that primarily affects those least able to afford it – those with lower incomes, individuals with disabilities, and older individuals and families who rely solely on landlines for communication. The tax is a modest and declining source of revenue for the federal government that currently funds no specific program and discourages no harmful activity.

“Most Americans would be shocked to learn that they pay a Spanish-American War-era tax on their local telephone service,” said Rep. Connolly. “To make matters worse, the people who shoulder the burden of this tax are often the least able to afford it and the most dependent on their landlines as a primary method of communication. The telephone excise tax is outdated and unacceptably regressive. It’s high time we do away with it.”

"This tax is an antiquated remnant from the 19th century and serves no practical purpose today,” Rep. Thompson said. “As our world increasingly relies on mobile devices, this tax on local landlines adversely impacts the elderly, disabled, and rural Americans. It is time to hang up on the telephone excise tax."

Full text of the legislation is available here.
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