Session of 2000
House Concurrent Resolution No. 5071
By Representatives Nichols, Powell, Cox, Dahl, Farmer, Hutchins,
Landwehr, Lightner, P. Long, McKechnie, Palmer and Shultz

11             A  CONCURRENT  RESOLUTION memorializing the Congress of the
12             United States to repeal the telephone excise tax.
14             WHEREAS,  When the Spanish American War began in 1898, the
15       United States government originated the telephone excise tax to raise
16       emergency funds. At the time, there was no income tax, so tariffs and
17       excise taxes were the predominant method for raising federal revenue.
18       Commercial phones had been in existence for a mere 20 years, and most
19       owners were wealthy. It was under these conditions that Congress passed
20       the Spanish War Act to enact a federal telephone excise tax on long-
21       distance service; and
22             WHEREAS,  The telephone excise tax began as a temporary luxury
23       tax. The tax had an implied lifespan, as it was to be used only for Spanish
24       American War needs. A luxury tax, by definition, is one levied on an
25       expensive, nonessential good or service. In 1898, the telephone was a
26       luxury item. Prices were high and usage was limited. Today, telephones
27       are commonplace, a necessity of everyday life. Our society now has pro-
28       visions for basic universal service to assure that no American family is
29       without the ability to call for assistance in times of emergencies; and
30             WHEREAS,  The federal telephone excise tax is currently a tax of 3%
31       on telephone use; and
32             WHEREAS,  The United States won the Spanish-American war over
33       100 years ago, and therefore Congress should repeal this regressive tax:
34       Now, therefore,
35             Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Kansas,
36       the Senate concurring therein: That we memorialize the Congress of
37       the United States to repeal the telephone excise tax; and
38             Be it further resolved: That the Secretary of State be directed to pro-
39       vide an enrolled copy of this resolution to the President of the United
40       States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the
41       United States House of Representatives and to each member of the Kan-
42       sas congressional delegation.