congress plans to tax cellphone texting – “tax the people to the bone”
there is a bill in congress that intends to tax every SMS text by 5 centavos. the philippines is the world’s most avid texters, we send the most everyday in the world and that is what congress wants to exploit. i suppose this is on top of the VAT that telcos pay in our behalf when we buy load.
the text to the filipino is one of the most precious things for us. it is one of very few things in our economic life that cost only 1 peso or is some less than a peso. you know the joke we make, there is nothing that cost P1 anymore, well except sending texts.
we think this is wrong and not just on the economic costs to people, as the senator said – it is taxing the people to the bone, it is in priciple wrong in governance.
we understand the government need tzxes to fund its operations and programs for the people and taxes is where they get it. i don’t mind taxes, but whayt i mind is adding taxes because of its own inability in doing its job.
the BIR and customs have perenially been falling short of their collection targets. many of the reasons for this shortfall is that they are not performing their jobs properly both because of corruption – intentionally not collecting the right taxes in lieu of a “commission” and inefficiency.
putting tax on texting is the easy way out to get more revenues. reforming the tax laws, getting good, honest and efficient managers and workers at the BIR and customs, improving efficiencies and plugging loopholes are too much work for them. it’s much easier and in fact involves much less work to just tax texting.
in the latter, they do not have to think or do anything. no need to change the ways and to look at people – all you need to do is burden the people all because they themselves are inefficent, lazy and corrupt.
putting tax on texting is wrong for many reasons and it’s not wrong just because it taxes the people to the bone.
‘Tax poor people to the bone? No way’—Enrile
By Christine Avendaño, Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:03:00 09/10/2009
MANILA, Philippines—A consumer group, an economic adviser to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the head of the Senate said the proposed tax on text messages would be an additional burden on the country’s 72 million mobile phone users.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he would oppose the House bill seeking to impose a tax on text messages.
“This will not pass in the Senate with that kind of version. I will not vote for it,” Enrile told reporters.
“Tax poor people to the bone? No way, I will not agree.”
“To rebel against this new tax law is justified,” TXTPower leader Anthony Ian Cruz said as he warned legislators seeking reelection in next year’s national polls of a backlash.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said raising the cost of text messages would penalize ordinary Filipinos, especially those who depend entirely on text messages to communicate with their relatives or friends working abroad.
“Effectively, this is an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) tax. Tax on text is bad economic and social policy,” said Salceda, who plans to recommend the rejection of the measure to the President.
A bill, proposing a five-centavo tax on every short and multimedia message, could raise up to P36 billion a year for the government.
House Bill No. 6625 has already passed the House ways and means committee and its proponents are now pushing for it to be endorsed fully by Congress and signed into law by Ms Arroyo.
To help fund budget
The measure is one of the revenue sources being considered by Malacañang to help fund the proposed P1.541-trillion budget for 2010, the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) said during Tuesday night’s briefing for senators.
Enrile said imposing five centavos on top of the P1 charge for text messages was unwarranted.
“It’s not right because this tax would be a burden on teachers, workers, students, nurses and houses just for government to have money to spend,” he said.
Enrile scoffed at the House bill provision that the tax would not be passed on to consumers. “But that’s indirect taxing,” he said.