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PUC OKs 3.4% Tax Hike for Long-Distance Calls

Telephone customers in Los Angeles and throughout the state will pay an increased tax of 3.4% on their long-distance calls within California, effective July 1, to help pay for basic telephone service for low-income households.

The Public Utilities Commission approved raising the current 2.5% surcharge, boosting the levy to 3.4 cents on $10 worth of intrastate calls.

The PUC said 1.5 million households now benefit from the subsidized service, called Lifeline, which cuts in half the basic monthly charge for local service.

To qualify for Lifeline service, total income for a household of one or two people must not exceed $13,600. The limit rises to $16,000 with a third person and increases by $3,200 for each additional member.

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