Cell Phones: Cash Cows for Government [AUDIO]
According to the Tax Foundation, local, state and federal governments, along with 911 systems and school districts, frequently tack taxes and surcharges onto cell phone bills, pushing your overall costs sky-high.
While New Jersey's rate is high, the national average is an even higher 17.2 percent, with some states exceeding 20 percent in cellphone taxes, according to a foundation report issued a year ago.
"Wow, my reaction is wow, that's a lot of taxes to be paying on a basic cell phone," said the Executive Director of New Jersey Citizen Action, Phyllis Salowe-Kaye.
"It seems like it's an exorbitant amount of money that is not going to provide the direct services that you're getting from your cell phone," she said. "The fact that they're collecting double digits in taxes is pretty outrageous."
With added taxes that high, Salowe-Kaye said, service providers should be more forthcoming about how much you're really going to pay overall. Usually, they advertise only a monthly service rate, and then say "plus tax."
The extra cost "certainly can't go up anymore and consumers should really be pressing for this to go down," Salowe-Kaye said, "especially because a cell phone is the only phone that many folks have today."