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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

For Immediate Release: March 10, 2010

Sen. Joe Sweeden
Sen. Joe Sweeden

Sweeden: Corporation Commission’s New Proposal is a Hidden Tax

Sen. Joe Sweeden on Tuesday said a proposal currently being considered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is a hidden tax that would obligate all telephone customers in the state to pay an additional fee for every phone line they have.

The proposal would make all in-state calls in Oklahoma toll-free, but all customers would be expected to pay an estimated monthly fee of $3.19 for each of their phone lines.

“The Commission has billed this as a statewide toll-free calling program, but upon closer inspection it certainly isn’t free,” said Sweeden, D-Pawhuska. “This is effectively an attempt to pass a hidden tax on all monthly telephone bills. I’m shocked that the Commission is seriously considering this proposal at a time when Oklahoma families are struggling through a tough economy.”

Sweeden said the proposal mandates an across-the-board fee, regardless of whether they make long-distance calls or not. Sweeden noted regulators have also estimated that telephone service carriers could also lose as much as $118 million if the plan is enacted.

“Many Oklahomans have free long distance on their cellular phone plans, but will still be forced to pay an additional fee under this proposal,” Sweeden said. “This is no time for new taxes, and the fact that this has been veiled as a free-calling proposal is particularly reprehensible. I’m encouraging members of the Commission to drop this proposal.”

For more information contact:
Sen. Sweeden: 405-521-5581

 

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