Opinion: How Text Messaging Tax Would Impact Teens’ Tech Habits

December 18, 2018

By After School Communications Manager Michael Luchies

After School believes strongly in the importance of public-private sector collaboration. We work with other companies, nonprofit organizations, individuals, and the government both to learn from them and provide insight into our experiences as a small tech company. We also believe in open communication, especially on issues where our opinions differ. When hearing of California’s proposed tax on text messaging, I was shocked.

The tax, which is expected to be “a flat fee added to a monthly bill,” was referred to as “a dumb idea,” by Jim Wunderman, president of the business advocacy group for the Bay Area Council. Business groups and wireless carriers are also against the proposed tax, which is intended to make up for lost revenues from the telecommunications industry that fund California’s Public Purpose Program.

Owen Daugherty, The Hill:

“The CTIA, which represents major carriers in the wireless industry, said the tax is anti-competitive and would put carriers at a disadvantage against social media messaging apps from tech companies such as Google and Facebook.”

Speaking from my own experience using a wide variety of forms of communication and observing the tendencies of today’s teens, 89% of whom own and use smartphones, texting is no longer a necessity. With WhatsApp, SnapChat, Facebook Messenger, After School, Skype, and many others tools, people are able to communicate without texting. Fees on texting will further push smartphone users away from traditional texts, and more toward forms of communication that aren’t taxed.

Wireless carriers are facing a constant stream of competition and innovations that threaten their businesses. This tax will not improve the experience of users nor will it help further innovation in the space.

What do you think about the proposed tax on texting? Share with us on Twitter @SafetyonSocial.

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