Wireless Telephone Sales Tax Repeal (S.6145/A.8226)

Date: 2016

S.6145 (Lanza)

A. 8226 (Cusick)

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York, supports this legislation.

This legislation repeals the state’s sales and use tax on wireless telephone services, and authorizes local governments to exempt such services from local sales and use taxes.

Enactment of this measure would not only put millions of dollars back into the pockets of the state’s residents and businesses that rely on wireless telephone services, it would also represent a major step toward reducing the “digital divide” in New York State.

According to ACTwireless, a national nonpartisan, non-profit consumer advocacy organization, New York state’s combine state and local wireless tax rate is $17.9% -- the third highest in the nation and well above the national average of 14.32%. When federal taxes are included, New Yorkers pay an effective tax rate of 24.36% on their wireless telephone bills.

High taxes on wireless telephone services limit the ability of wireless consumers – especially those on fixed budgets such as seniors, working families and small businesses – to access the Internet. By reducing state and local taxes on wireless services, New York’s leaders can ensure that a larger share of the state’s citizens are able to fully participate in the digital economy.

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate supports the enactment of this legislation.