New York, Missouri Considering Raising Already-High Cell Phone Taxes

June 22, 2011

New York and Missouri officials are considering efforts to impose new taxes on cell phones, using the money to expand 911 systems. Making sure that the local 911 call center is operational is about as vital as vital government services go. So vital that I would think it would be a better use of other tax dollars, rather than deferring upgrades until a new tax is enacted.

The stories caught my eye because New Yorkers and Missourians already face pretty high wireless taxes (3rd highest and 7th highest, respectively). This might be an issue of not wisely using existing taxes paid by wireless users, although I’d have to learn more.

More on cell phone taxes in this report, a chart from which is reproduced below. For details about taxes in each state (including Missouri’s state, local, and business taxes on cell phone bills), see here (PDF).

State Average State-Local Tax Rate Combined Federal-State-Local Rate Rank
Alabama 7.45% 12.50% 38
Alaska 6.69% 11.74% 42
Arizona 11.97% 17.02% 14
Arkansas 11.07% 16.12% 16
California 10.67% 15.72% 19
Colorado 10.40% 15.45% 22
Connecticut 6.96% 12.01% 41
Delaware 6.25% 11.30% 45
Florida 16.57% 21.62% 4
Georgia 8.57% 13.62% 29
Hawaii 7.75% 12.80% 37
Idaho 2.20% 7.25% 48
Illinois 15.85% 20.90% 5
Indiana 9.84% 14.89% 23
Iowa 7.91% 12.96% 35
Kansas 13.34% 18.39% 9
Kentucky 10.42% 15.47% 21
Louisiana 6.28% 11.33% 44
Maine 7.16% 12.21% 40
Maryland 12.23% 17.28% 11
Massachusetts 7.81% 12.86% 36
Michigan 7.27% 12.32% 39
Minnesota 9.38% 14.43% 26
Mississippi 9.08% 14.13% 27
Missouri 14.23% 19.28% 7
Montana 6.03% 11.08% 47
Nebraska 18.64% 23.69% 1
Nevada 2.08% 7.13% 49
New Hampshire 8.18% 13.23% 32
New Jersey 8.87% 13.92% 28
New Mexico 10.52% 15.57% 20
New York 17.78% 22.83% 3
North Carolina 9.43% 14.48% 25
North Dakota 10.68% 15.73% 18
Ohio 7.95% 13.00% 33
Oklahoma 10.74% 15.79% 17
Oregon 1.81% 6.86% 50
Pennsylvania 14.08% 19.13% 8
Rhode Island 14.62% 19.67% 6
South Carolina 9.52% 14.57% 24
South Dakota 12.02% 17.07% 13
Tennessee 11.58% 16.63% 15
Texas 12.43% 17.48% 10
Utah 12.16% 17.21% 12
Vermont 8.50% 13.55% 30
Virginia 6.56% 11.61% 43
Washington 17.95% 23.00% 2
West Virginia 6.23% 11.28% 46
Wisconsin 8.34% 13.39% 31
Wyoming 7.94% 12.99% 34
District of Columbia 11.58% 16.63%

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