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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, May 23

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Dutch101 / January 10, 2008 3:37 PM

From the anti-tax peoples' site, I understand that it applies to wireless too.
That having been said, I haven't had a land line for about 8 years, nor do I think that I will probably get one any time in the near future. As long as you have a cell phone and the internet, a land line is pretty redundant.
And what is up with that tax? They need a phone tax? To balance the HEALTH SYSTEM'S budget? While there has been no trimming of the Toddler's family-reunion style middle management? Ridiculous.

anne / January 10, 2008 3:46 PM

I have a cell phone and broadband cable at home, so I'd get taxed twice. It's a ridiculous plan.

Plus, as I look around at work, there are thousands of phones in my building. Since my company has already cut back its spending on healthcare in order to save money, I seriously doubt that it would take kindly to an additional several hundred thousand dollars worth of taxes it would have to pay to Cook County for the pleasure of its employees having phones at their desks. I bet you'd see plenty of companies heading to other (cheaper) locations if this went through.

Ron Pasko / January 10, 2008 4:19 PM

Keep in mind that this is a tax per line, not per phone. And if the content of the bill hasn't changed since it was first mentioned back in October, this is any line in use in Cook county, hardwired or mobile. So going cell won't save you the $4. (difficult to verify - I cannot seem to find a county source with the details and the link provided above is down - probably slashdotted.)

I think taxing phones makes a whole lot more sense than cutting exorbitant waste in county government. THANKS TODD!

samb / January 10, 2008 4:33 PM

i'm thinking: carrier pigeon.

and that opens up a whole new tax base, newly employed pigeons. 2012, here we come - take that other cities!

smoke signals might work out too, but you can't send them from bars anymore. and they get poor reception when it rains.

jen / January 10, 2008 4:36 PM

I forget exactly what the % is, but cell phone taxes in Illinois are ~17%. This is not including the fees for 911 service (which, granted, is totally acceptable). Where is that money going? How can they justify further fees?

DXO / January 10, 2008 6:28 PM

Left land in late 2001; won't be going back, regardless of tax.

kelly / January 10, 2008 7:44 PM

I keep my land line for emergencies, like when the zombie wars come and cell service goes down immediately.

Tax be damned.

I am only half kidding!

but total p.s. when AT&T took over SBC they now have a 42% late fee charge which is total bullshit. Check it on yer land line bill if you still have one.

Steven / January 10, 2008 7:52 PM

I'm thinking I'll get a cell phone with a DuPage county area code. Problem solved.

Jen / January 10, 2008 9:56 PM

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, like any of you hipster kids are willing to give up your 312 or 773 for an 847 or 630.

You may as well have a KID. And take it to a city restaurant or something. Or maybe drive a car. That uses GAS. Or not recycle.

Annie / January 10, 2008 9:56 PM

I haven't had a land line since 2001. I hardly remember how to use telephones anymore.

Steven / January 10, 2008 11:57 PM

Sweetheart, I'm 47 and long ago stopped caring whether or not I was hip. Which I suppose makes me hip. But you make a point. If I'm going to give up a 312 area code, I'm going for the gold, 219. That way I can avoid some pesky state taxes too.

Rebecca / January 11, 2008 9:00 AM

is it really true, that the cell phone tax you pay is determined by the area code, and not your billing address?

Christine / January 11, 2008 9:58 AM

I only use a cell phone. I am able to get a really low rate and can call anywhere in the world with additional apps like Jajah so there's no need to have a land line.

zoenotcool / January 11, 2008 10:18 AM

Still have a land line, even though the Mister has wanted to get rid of it since 2001 or so. I am the only one to check the voice mail and I often forget for days at a time. When it rings, it makes me jump and often is some pesky unidentified number/caller.

It's expensive and a nuisance, but I can't seem to let it go!

Landline Lovers Anonymous, anyone?

Mikey / January 11, 2008 10:54 AM

Cell phone taxes for Chicago residents are currently at 18.4%, which is second highest in the country. I guess Toddler and the Hog are striving to be Number 1 at something...

I would be curious to know as well if one could avoid certain taxes by choosing a different area code. It seems to me that half the country would have the same area code overnight...

I haven't had a landline in about a year, and don't miss it at all. And I figure once the zombie wars start, phone service and electricity will be two of the first things to go anyway (though I'm still wondering how Will Smith was still powered up 3 years later in I Am Legend)...

Tonic / January 11, 2008 10:54 AM

I have a huge black plastic phone with a dial and a curly, pig's-tail cord. My number is KLondike 5-4721

Tonic / January 11, 2008 10:56 AM

But seriously, I'm thinking of going with that Skype stuff (or one of the other online phone brands). I mean, I'm already paying for the internets anyway, right? And are there taxes on Skype yet?

jen / January 11, 2008 10:59 AM

it seems i didn't answer the initial question. i only have a cell phone, and have since about 2000.

mikey - i don't believe the taxes are really that different from place to place. i'll have to check old bills if i have them when i get home, but my ohio number was highly taxed as well (at least 15%), both when i was living in ohio and in chicago. i just switched numbers so it was local for people to call me here from land lines (i.e. at work).

anyone in an office (or at home) that switched over to VOIP phones? and how does that get taxed? or is the government not hip to this new technology yet?

p / January 11, 2008 11:03 AM

i like turtles.

eep / January 11, 2008 11:44 AM

I've been cell-only for about five years now. Some of my family members ask if I'm going to get a landline ever again, but I don't see the point. Why pay for something I know I won't use?

As for this tax, I call complete and utter bullshit on it. Ridiculous. I'm actually glad to not only have a 630 number, but a 630 address to go with it.

Carlotta / January 11, 2008 11:58 AM

I'm in the distinct minority of having only a landline --and no cell phone. (I don't care much for the idea of brain cancer although I'll find out if I'm dying of lung cancer when the radon test results come back).

Call centers will be migrating to the collar counties with that kind of tax -- raising taxes and raising unemployment in one fell swoop.

vit / January 11, 2008 12:58 PM

I keep my landline for the same reason kelly does. Those zombies can be tricky.

I've had the same cell phone number for nine years, so I'm not too eager to give it up as I'm sort of attached to it. However, the older I get, and the more absurd the powers that be around here get, I can see myself debating the merits of Steven's 312 to 219 jump.

d / January 11, 2008 1:36 PM

I ditched the land line about four years ago. Was tired of paying ameritech 25 bucks a month for a line I rarely used. I switched to VOIP at home, and enjoy paying less for international calls than it previously cost me to call the western burbs.

If anyone is still hanging only the landline so they can get SBC DSL you should know that SBC now sells dry-line DSL (meaning no land-line voice service needed) for quite cheap.

I don't think they can add a $4 monthly fee to my no contract fill up with minutes style cell phone. Think about switching to something like that if you are a light talker.

d / January 11, 2008 1:40 PM


I may rethink that landline of mine.

Jill / January 11, 2008 2:34 PM

Though I have a cell phone (pre-paid, no contract), I'm not a big fan of using it, so it's never on unless I need to use it and I forget to charge it all the time. Hence the landline (which is bundled with internet and long distance and doesn't seem that expensive to me and the Boy). Plus, the landline just has better reception. Calling friends who are cell-only can be annoying when every time I have a long conversation, I'm yelling to be heard or the call gets dropped.

I also live in an apartment, so I need the landline for people to come over and deliveries to be made. I find it most annoying when people make a delivery person use their cell phone (and their minutes) to call up because their buzzer won't work since they have no landline. I also get annoyed when I go to friends' places and they have to come and fetch me because they can't buzz me in.

And, let's face it, I'm with those who are prepping for the zombies. Landline, duct tape, water. I'm ready!

Mikey / January 11, 2008 2:48 PM

I find it most annoying when people make a delivery person use their cell phone (and their minutes) to call up because their buzzer won't work since they have no landline.

My building has a telephone keypad entry system (buzzer) and I don't have a landline. I do, however, still have it dialed in to my cell phone, which is especially convenient when UPS or FedEx shows up with a package and I'm not home...

Jill / January 11, 2008 3:44 PM

That's smart, Mikey! Why can't more people do that?

LandLineLoverXXX / January 13, 2008 7:39 PM

I hadn't had a land line for years, but since I started working part-time as a phone sex operator from home a year ago that land line has become damn handy. I don't have any signal problems to worry about with a cell. Nothing worse for business than "Oh yeah *static* I want your *static* *static*." The fellas don't like that ;)

porgy / January 17, 2008 2:20 PM

Thought that was a
choclate ice cream bar.

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