Arundel official pushes for cellular tax plan

March 05, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens began selling her proposed cellular-phone tax to reluctant state legislators yesterday, telling them the proceeds would bolster her shorthanded police and fire departments.

"We have to build a solid public safety system and we need your support," Owens said.

She is seeking authority to levy, with County Council approval, a 5 percent tax on county residents' cellular phone bills. Such a tax would allow the county to raise between $6 million and $10 million annually, county officials have said.

While several employee unions testified in favor of the bill, representatives from four of the county's six cellular phone providers lined up to oppose it.

"It targets the wireless industry to pay for programs that benefit all residents of the county," said Cary B. Hinton of Sprint.

The county's state delegates will discuss, and possibly vote on, the measure at their weekly meeting Friday.

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