BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The debate continues over the cell phone tax in Baltimore County.
An original proposal would have put a $3.50 tax on phone lines, but Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said there could be more changes to the proposal.
“It’s not a wise decision,” Molly Brown, of Towson, said. “Younger people especially. Having cell phones and having to pay a tax on something they can’t already afford, it’s not the smartest idea in my opinion.”
Olszewski said a cell phone tax would generate revenue.
“We’ve seen an incredible loss of revenue, we’ve always had a tax on landlines,” he said. “We lost millions of dollars over the years as people have changed technology and converted over to cell phones in favor of landlines. We’re just trying to evolve with that change and find a way to have the resources to pay our teachers, build our schools and invest in services people say they really want us to invest in.”
The original plan to put a $3.50 tax on individual cell phone lines received major blowback, according to Olszewski.
Wednesday, he told WJZ he’s open to changing the proposed plan; and instead of taxing per-line, tax per-account.
“If families have three or four or five lines they would have been dealing with a per-line approach,” Olszewski said. “But doing it per-account, it can be per-household which I think really is sensitive when it comes to it and addresses some of the concerns we’ve been listening to and hearing.”
Olszewski said only those living in Baltimore County with accounts in the county would be taxed. He said the money raised would go toward county projects.
Some people believe that the county needs to find another way to complete these projects.
“I work hard every day just to meet our bills and everything,” Karen Keith, of Towson, said. “Then a tax on top of another tax, and we still have potholes in the street. I’m just upset about more taxes on a cell phone.”
The vote is set for Thursday, May 23. If approved, the plan will go into effect starting July.