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Cell Phone Tax On The Way?

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Your cell phone bill could go up in the near future.

The White House is pushing for an extra tax to an already long list of government fees and surcharges. The tax would cost cell phone users an extra $5 a year, which would amount to about 40 cents a month.

The money would go to create the 'Connect Ed' program, which would put high speed internet in 99 percent of classrooms nationwide.

For Emily Geertz, mother of 3 little ones, it's about time.

I think the US is way behind in having access to high speed internet when you look at other countries, Geertz said.

Her children and other students nationwide would benefit, but some are wondering at what cost?

The president has advocated an administrative unilateral action to get this done, said White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest. We're not gonna wait for congress to act.

Earnest says with problems in Washington, the president is looking to the FCC, and not lawmakers, to pass the tax.

University of Iowa Professor Nicholas Johnson says it wouldn't be the first time.

This is a way to do that that is consistent with the way we've done it with the telephone industry in the past, Johnson said.

Johnson, who is also a former FCC commissioner, says there was a similar push decades ago to expand telephone service nationwide.

He says this is the same concept.

We have to be able to get into the classrooms of every student, not just those in large urban centers, Johnson said.

Iowans we spoke say they wouldn't mind the extra 5 bucks.

High speed internet in classrooms, definitely a good thing to have, UI Student Ben Duff said.

However, the idea of the president bypassing congress rubs some the wrong way.

That's how all the other laws are passed, this one shouldn't be any different, UI Student Kirstyn Russell said.

Still, some think it may be necessary.

At this point to avoid gridlock if it's a better method or an alternative method, I think it's a wise move, Geertz.

If the tax is passed, it set to be retired after generating about 6 billion dollars.
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