Well, it took all the will power I had not to butt into the conversation with "it's the fees stupid".
Take a close look at your latest phone bills - cell phone, land line, all of them. You're likely in for a rude awakening.
I had the opportunity to price out new cell phone service for someone in the Dallas Metroplex and was astonished. For 1000 minutes w/ unlimited nights and weekends, the monthly fee was great - $45. But then when the bill came we were astonished to find an additional $15 in taxes and fees. That's basically a 33% tax rate!
Here is the detail for the bill in question:
|Taxes, Fees and Surcharges|
|Government Fees and Taxes|
|Federal Excise Tax||1.29|
|Federal Universal Service Fund||1.16|
|State Sales Tax||4.96|
|State Universal Service Fund||3.02|
|City District Tax||0.80|
|Local Sales Tax||0.80|
|Regulatory Programs Fee*||0.86|
|Taxes, Fees and Surcharges||14.37|
|*Fee we collect and retain to help cover our costs related to funding and complying with government mandates, programs and obligations.|
No wonder SBC and Verizon want to keep their monopoly position so radically protected against municiple providers here in Texas. That $4 in Universal Service Fund money goes right back to them in one form or another. Simply amazing.