Back when cell phones were introduced to us as "bag phones," I'd be willing to be that many of us would have been stunned by at least a couple of things. I know that I never envisioned a device that could do so much and be such an intrinsic part of my life, and I most certainly never knew that I would be spending so much on it.

Having our cell phone, for many of us, is of equal importance to wearing clothing. There are probably many out there who would pick their phone over their pants when prioritizing. And, speaking of prioritizing, the state of Illinois puts a very high priority on taxes and fees for our phones.

Writing at Reboot Illinois, Kevin Hoffman points out:

With a rate of 17.84 percent, Illinois has the fourth-highest average wireless consumer tax burden of all 50 states, including Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. But when you tack on the 6.64 percent Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) surcharge, the state’s combined rate is 24.48 percent, making Illinois one of thirteen states in which total taxes and fees account for more than 20 percent of consumers’ wireless service bills. Nationally, the average wireless tax burden increased 1.5 percentage points in the last two years to a record 18.6 percent as of July 2016. U.S. wireless consumers now pay roughly $17.2 billion in combined state, local, and federal taxes and fees, including $7 billion in sales taxes and $5.1 billion in FUSF surcharges. To put this into perspective, a typical household whose cell phone bill costs $100 a month for four phones now pays $225 in taxes, fees and government surcharges annually — up 4.5 percentage points over the past decade.

Here are the top 5 states with the highest cellphone taxes and fees:

  1. Washington
  2. Nebraska
  3. New York
  4. Illinois
  5. Pennsylvania

And the 5 states with the lowest:

  1. Delaware
  2. Montana
  3. Idaho
  4. Nevada
  5. Oregon

To read Kevin Hoffman's full story at Reboot Illinois, click here.

To avoid all those fees and taxes...