Lawmakers push quick passage of ban on Web tax

Members of both parties and both chambers are pushing congressional leaders to move swiftly on a bill to ban taxes on access to the Internet.

The leaders of the Congressional Internet Caucus on Thursday urged the heads of the House and Senate to take up the legislation before the August recess.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This would ensure that millions of consumers do not receive notifications informing them that their Internet bills may increase in November,” they wrote. “Extending [the Internet Tax Freedom Act] permanently will provide much-needed certainty to consumers and businesses and will preserve the benefits of Internet access for all Americans.”

The bill, which the House Judiciary Committee sent to the chamber floor this week, would indefinitely continue a current prohibition on state and local government taxes on access to the Internet. The existing law has been in place since 1998 but is set to expire in November.

“The moratorium’s expiration poses a threat to many of the current benefits of the Internet for American citizens,” the lawmakers wrote on Thursday.

The House version of the bill is called the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act and the Senate version is the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) signed the letter, as did Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

In addition to indefinitely continuing the current ban on state and local Internet taxes, the twin pieces of legislation would also call for an end to the taxes in eight states that had them grandfathered in when the law was first passed.

That could amount to an invasion on states’ rights, some Democrats feared in the House committee this week.

Still, the measure has ample support on both sides of the aisle in both chambers and is likely to sail through the House and Senate when it comes up for a vote.

The House bill has 226 co-sponsors, more than half the chamber, and the Senate version has 50.