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Franks earns 2012 Wireless Consumer Hero Award

The bipartisan, pro-consumer advocacy group, MyWireless.org, awarded Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) with the 2012 Wireless Consumer Hero Award for his commitment to wireless tax relief for American consumers and businesses.

Congressman Franks is one of the original sponsors of the bipartisan ‘Wireless Tax Fairness Act’ (H.R. 1002) and was instrumental in its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2011. Franks has frequently cited the need for Americans to have affordable access to wireless networks to stay connected to friends and family and run successful businesses.

“Access to wireless networks represents a key component of millions of Americans’ livelihoods, providing the efficient communications capabilities – whether phone, broadband internet, or otherwise – necessary to run a successful business. Aside from being unfair and discriminatory, the exorbitant taxes that are currently being levied against wireless customers serve as yet another burden on Americans who are already struggling in the midst of a recession of record proportions,” said Rep. Franks. “I’m honored to receive this award and look forward to seeing progress toward giving the millions of hard-working Americans who rely on the nation’s wireless networks a more fair deal and an opportunity to run their businesses without the excessive taxes on the communications services upon which they rely.”

Wireless devices have become an easy target for new taxes as cash-strapped state and local governments look for new sources of income. As a result, the average wireless consumer pays more than 16% in combined monthly federal, state and local wireless taxes and fees. That’s more than double the average sales tax rate for other goods and services.

“This legislation is an excellent example of lawmakers from both parties coming together to address increasingly unfair efforts by state and local governments to balance their books on the backs of wireless consumers.” said Steve Largent, President & CEO of CTIA – The Wireless Association. “On behalf of our consumer advocacy group, MyWireless.org, we especially want to thank Congressman Franks for his work defending wireless users across the nation from more unfair, new state and local wireless taxes and fees.”

The Wireless Tax Fairness Act would prohibit state and local governments from adding any new taxes and fees on a specific communications service, such as wireless, for five years. This five-year freeze would give wireless consumers a much-needed break from even higher taxes and fees, and a window to develop a tax and fee structure that is fair and sensible. The U.S. Senate is currently considering its companion bill (S. 543).