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Press Release

    Tech Bytes - Tid Bits in Tech News: This Week We Remember the Maine – Every Month We Pay the Price

    05/18/2000

    In 1898 the United States entered a brief war with Spain. It lasted less than one year. Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders were catapulted to national fame for their victories over the Spanish Army, and the United States emerged victorious with control over much of what is now Central America. To fund this war effort, President McKinley implemented a luxury tax on a new invention – the telephone. Today, Americans may remember the Spanish-American War when they think of Teddy Roosevelt or hear the expression "Remember the Maine." All Americans should remember it when they pay their monthly telephone bill.

    Although the Spanish-American War has been over for more than a century, we still pay this "luxury" tax on our phone bills every month.

    Revenues from the telecommunications excise tax do not go to facilitate telecommunications usage or promote new services. The money comes right out of consumers’ pockets and goes into general funds – nearly $6 billion to fund everything from congressional pensions to mohair subsidies.

    Although the Spanish-American War has been over for more than a century, we still pay this "luxury" tax on our phone bills every month. The time has come to end this regressive tax on talking.

    This week, a House committee voted to repeal the tax. The next step is to get the full House and the Senate to do the same. Write your members of congress and urge them to support H.R. 3916 to repeal this regressive tax on talking.