The Texas Legislature convened in Austin on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.
Low-Tax State Officials Propose More Tax Relief, As High-Tax State Lawmakers Push More Rate Hikes
Forbes – March 31, 2019
Except below – read entire article here.
Right now, both Florida and Texas are considering legislation that would lower the taxes and fees imposed on telecommunications providers and result in millions dollars in savings….
Meanwhile, lawmakers in Texas are also looking to reduce the taxes and fees on monthly cable and phone bills. Throughout the country, local governments typically charge a fee when a telecommunications provider lays a line in the right-of-way. In Texas, however, arcane laws force providers to pay two fees on one line if it is used to provide both voice and video service.
Chapter 66 of the Utilities Code requires telecommunications companies to pay franchise fees for using rights-of-way to provide video services, and Chapter 283 of the Local Government Code requires payment for using rights-of-way to provide voice services. When voice and video services are provided through the same line, these state laws result in a double tax, as telecommunications providers in Texas end up paying two fees – one per service – despite the fact that there is no additional burden on the city’s right-of-way. This form of double taxation raises costs for consumers across Texas.
SB 1152, introduced by Senator Kelly Hancock (R-Richland Hills), and its companion, HB 3535, introduced by Representative Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), would end this instance of double taxation by requiring telecommunications providers to pay only the larger of these two taxes, rather than both. Rep. Phelan’s bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House State Affairs Committee on Monday, April 1. This reform is estimated to result in telecommunications providers paying millions less in taxes and fees every year, and thus would allow Texans to keep more of their hard-earned money.