June 6, 2014
By Hilary Gowins

Chicagoans could be on the brink of a cell-phone tax hike.

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed into law an amendment to House Bill 2453, which gives the city of Chicago the authority to raise the city’s per-line 911 fee to $3.90 from the current fee of $2.50.

Chicago cell-phone users are already hit hard by cell phone taxes.

Illinois’ cell phone tax rate already is higher than all of the state’s neighbors. Residents in nearby states pay an average of 6 percent less in taxes on their phone bills.

On top of paying an effective federal tax rate of 5.82 percent and a 7 percent state of Illinois telecom excise tax, Chicago wireless consumers already pay a 7 percent municipal tax to the city and a $2.50 per line wireless 911 fee.

As the tax stands now, a Chicago family purchasing a four-line family share plan for $80 a month would actually end up paying more than $105 per month due to $10 in 911 fees and another $15 in additional taxes and fees. That’s $300 per year in wireless taxes.

Chicago taxpayers can’t afford to continue serving as pawns for politicians looking to come up with extra revenue wherever possible. Even though the state has given Chicago alderman the authority to raise the 911 fee, they owe it to their constituents to do the right thing and avoid the temptation to do so.