I got into a discussion about cell phones and land lines the other day. We ended up talking about how many phones are out there any more.
As people are dumping landlines in favor of cell phone only service, they are in need of equipping their entire family with phone lines. So the average family now may have four or more numbers. Many still have multiple cell phones and a land line, like we do.
You are paying taxes on each line you have. We do not pay them just on the entire cell phone bill and the entire land line bill, but on each and every line you have. We pay the same tax three times each month.
As we expand the number of lines, we continue to pay more taxes. Many of these are set to pay for certain services that are essential like the 911 surcharge, local enhanced 911surcharge, the Utah State Universal Service Charge and the Federal Universal Service Charge.
But I noticed that in 2006 we were paying about $4 in taxes and surcharges for our two wireless lines. This month the amount was over $12. This didn't include the very same taxes we pay on our land line.
With more phone lines and much higher rates of taxes are the services we are paying for getting more money than ever before? Do our 911 services have the best technology available since many more lines are being taxed to fund that pot?
If those programs are not reaping big rewards from the steady increase of lines being taxed, where is the money going? Maybe I have fuzzy math skills but it seems like there should be a pretty big windfall for those services over the past five years.
I have not been getting the impression that our local services are very flush right now. I was not able to follow the tax trail to where that money is sent before it is distributed.
Some taxes we pay that have specific designations do not go directly to the cause, but are put into the general fund. This is at both the state and the federal levels. The agencies or services that need the money then need to submit their budget and hope for the best.
It is rare that once a tax is implemented that it ever goes away. Its pretty rare exception, too, that they are ever reduced. Many are quietly edged up a few cents at a time so that there is hardly an out cry. You wonder why your bill seems to be a little higher, but pay it without a word. One day you look back and find an old bill account from several years back and are shocked.
I think the essence of each tax on my lines are solid. I just wonder if the services are reaping the benefits we think they are. If not adjust the amount the service is getting to be what we are paying in or cut our tax obligation now to adjust to the increaased amount of people who are paying these taxes.
Maybe there should be a little of both.