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June 16, 2005

Cell Phones Taxed, Used To Plug Parking Meters

Courtesy of Mobile Pipeline

One local government has instituted a tax on cell phones while another enables citizens to use their cell phones to pay for parking meters, according to two news reports posted this week.

The city council in Alexandria, Virginia this week approved a tax on cell phones, according to the Washington Post. And Coral Gables, Florida has launched a system by which residents can use their cell phones to plug parking meters from afar, according to the Associated Press.

The Alexandria tax will be $3 per month on bills of more than $30 or 10 percent on monthly bills that are less than $30, the Washington Post reported.

The Post said that the idea came to William D. Euille one day while he was sitting in his car.

"I was just sitting in my car at the intersection. I looked around at 15 or 20 other cars, and everybody had a cell phone," the Post quoted Euille as saying. The tax is expected to raise $1.7 million dollars in the 2006 fiscal year, according to the Post.

Coral Gables, which is a Miami suburb, has established a system in which users dial a phone number, then dial a special number assigned to their specific parking spot, according to an Associated Press report. The meter fee plus a $.25 fee, is then charged to their credit card bill.

When people sign up, they enter their credit card number, e-mail address, phone number and license plate number, according to the Associated Press report. E-mails are sent for transactions and users can check on-line for usage reports, according to the report. The service is offered by Toronto-based PayMint, according to the Associated Press.

When users leave the parking spot, they must call the number back and, literally, stop the meter from running. The Associated Press said that the program, which was recently launched, has more than 250 subscribers already.

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