The Boston Globe has a report on how Massachusetts taxes cellphone purchases at the full list price, even when the phones are discounted or free to consumers who sign up for a contract with a cellular provider. From the Globe:
"Why am I paying $40 tax on a $149 phone?" Worthington, a Worcester advertising executive, said she asked the Verizon Wireless sales clerk in Shrewsbury....
In Worthington's case, she was charged the state's 6.25 percent sales tax on her iPhone's actual value, $650. "That just drove me absolutely nuts," she said. "If I go in to buy a washing machine that's on sale, I don't have to pay sales tax on the full price."
The Globe explains "The state issued its first policy on taxing cellphone sales in 1993." It doesn't name the person who was governor of Massachusetts in 1993, though that might make the story more nationally newsworthy at a time when that person is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. UPDATE: Oh—wait, sorry, I got the guy who was governor of Massachusetts in 1993 (Bill Weld) and the guy who was governor of Massachusetts in 2003 (Mitt Romney) mixed up. They are both Republican Harvard Law School graduates turned private equity guys who started out liberal on social issues and ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate, so you can see how it happened.