Taxing Communication Abhorrent

Kent Lassman, Deputy Director of Technology and Communications Policy for Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, testified today before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection on H.R. 3011, the Truth in Telephone Billing Act of 1999 and H.R. 3022, the Rest of the Truth in Telephone Billing Act of 1999.

In his testimony, Lassman called for market-oriented pricing, rather than government mandates, and a repeal of telecommunications taxes.

“Two pieces of legislation before us today – H.R. 3011 and H.R. 3022 – would provide consumers with more information about these taxes through mandates on service providers,” Lassman said. “Both of these objectives are desirable. However, I urge you to remain steadfast in pursuit of a solution to the root problem: taxation through regulation must be eliminated, not simply discouraged or made more transparent.”

Lassman commended Representatives Tom Bliley (R-VA), Billy Tauzin (R-LA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) for their support of policies to promote accurate pricing information in the telecommunications marketplace.

“It is abhorrent to tax and regulate communications in a free society,” Lassman said. “The ability to communicate unfettered by government sanction is at the very root of individual liberty.

“Public policy should not impede the flow of information, but allow consumers to make the best possible decisions. Either bill, if passed, would shed light on the excessive tax rates that consumers pay on telecommunications.”

The hearing took take place at 10 a.m. in Room 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.

You can view Lassman’s statement, in its entirety, at the CSE Web site: