Email Tax Proposed In Effort To Save US Post Office

email tax california

An email tax designed to help keep the struggling US Post Office solvent was proposed in California. Berkeley City Council member Gordon Wozniak uttered the proposal during a discussion about closing a local United States Postal Service (USPS) building. The government building was on the chopping block due to a lack of business.

The California elected official proposed a “bit tax.” He reportedly favors a cent per –gigabit in each email sent. Wozniak thinks an email tax could generate billions of dollars a year and would help save the United State Post Office from extinction.

While the majority of online users would favor the possible lack of spam the email tax would prompt, granny might be getting a lot less videos in her inbox. If the tax should pass in Berkely and be replicated on a state or national level, the everyday communications of both individuals and businesses could become a lot more expensive.

The idea of an email tax was first considered in 1999. The United Nations considered such a tax on online correspondence to help fund global communications infrastructures. During the most recent fiscal year, the United States Postal Service saw a $15.9 billion loss.

While some consider saving the US Post Office a very important task, others simply do not understand why the agency is worth continued funding. Those who doubt the ability of the US Post Office to remain solvent in the long term, point to the money used on a Lance Armstrong endorsement deal as an example of frivolous spending.

As the California politician who proposed the email tax noted, there has been a steep decrease in mailed letters in recent years. As written letters and documents were sent more and more via email, online buying increased. The USPS is now competing with UPS and FedEx for a greater share of the package shipping market.


A CBS report maintains that the United States Postal Service is the only agency required to pay into a future retiree health benefits plan. The bulk of the USPS red ink allegedly stems from the $11 billion paid into the plan in 20006. The report maintains that without the health benefits plan, and labor expenses, the US Post Office would have “only” lost $2.4 billion in 2012.

What do you think about an email tax being used to help save the US Post Office?

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