Lawmakers pass cell phone tax to pay for deaf services

Source: MGN

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A new 4.25-cent monthly tax will be added to Louisiana cell phone bills if the governor agrees with a bill backed by lawmakers.

The dollars would pay for technology assistance and services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Current law imposes a 5-cent monthly tax on landline phones, with the money deposited into the Telecommunications for the Deaf Fund. The bill would drop that rate to 4.25 cents a month, but expand the tax to wireless services.

The bill by Rep. Patricia Smith, a Baton Rouge Democrat, received final legislative passage with an 85-8 vote Tuesday. If Governor John Bel Edwards agrees to the proposal, the new tax would take effect Oct. 1. It would raise an estimated $4.7 million annually.