OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The state Senate has approved a measure that lets counties and the state increase a tax on landline and cell phone bills to pay for 911 system upgrades.
Under the measure that passed on a 29-12 vote Thursday, voice over Internet services would be taxed as well. All the increases would take effect Jan. 1, 2011. The bill lets counties increase their excise tax to 70 cents per month, up from the current 50 cents. And the state tax would increase 5 cents to 25 cents a month. The measure now heads to the House for further consideration
Supporters say the tax is needed to help modernize the 911 emergency response system, especially in rural counties. The new system would include voice and data texting to help hearing impaired or deaf residents.