WASHINGTON--Verizon Wireless' top priority in the coming months is to head off "backward looking" state regulation and taxation of wireless services, a top company official said today.
In his quarterly briefing with reporters, Steve Zipperstein, Verizon Wireless' vice president of legal and external affairs, said the two issues top his priority list. Verizon Wireless is hoping to be the leader in constructing a framework for industry and state regulators to work through wireless issues. Working with states on consumer issues, instead of outright opposition to state regulation, is key to achieving that framework, he said.
"We're not saying there is no role for states" in regulating some aspects of wireless services, he said. The states already have consumer protection laws on the books that apply to Verizon Wireless' services. But he doesn't want the kind of overly restrictive regulations, such as the recent California Consumers' Bill of Rights, to multiply across the country. He said applying rules that try to interpose the state between a company's customers and the company won't work in competitive markets like wireless.
The company also is looking to continue a string of successes in getting states to reconsider singling wireless service out as a ready source of tax revenue. The Pennsylvania legislature passed a bill not long ago repealing its gross receipt tax law. The law, adopted in 2003, placed a "double sales tax" on wireless consumers in that state. Verizon Wireless helped argue the case for repealing it. California voters also recently rejected a proposition that would have used a tax on wireless services to fund emergency rooms. Zipperstein said the effort to keep unreasonable local taxation at bay will continue.