Internet Tax Ban Stalled in Senate
- If you value free commerce on the Internet, and if you're a US citizen, you
might consider contacting your Senators and Congressperson about
this. The five-year ban on taxing sales on the Internet (and on taxing
your Internet hook-up) have expired, and states are lining up to extend
both sales tax (this includes municipalities - 7,500 total sales-taxing
bodies in the US) and a hook-up tax.
This isn't an urban legend. It's an AP story I pulled from the Washington
Post just now.
Internet Tax Ban Stops Dead in Senate
The Associated Press
Friday, November 7, 2003; 1:48 PM
WASHINGTON - A drive to permanently ban Internet access taxes stopped dead
in the Senate on Friday, stuck in a clash over whether the legislation
would shear millions from the budgets of state and local governments.
The problem arose over the definition of "Internet access" - services that
connect consumers to the Internet. The strongest proponents for a permanent
ban want to make sure that all access technologies - from phone lines to
DSL to cable modems - get equal freedom from taxation.
Opponents said the definition supporters crafted to incorporate new
technologies was too vague and could go too far - eliminating taxes on many
types of Internet technologies and telecommunications delivered through the
Several states currently collect taxes on Internet access services, and
opponents of the ban are worried that the legislation could limit this
"You could see billions and billions of dollars lost," said Sen. Byron
Dorgan, D-S.D. "Definitions are everything."
The two sides scrapped a planned Senate debate and instead began
negotiations, hoping to strike a compromise by next week.
The proponents of the permanent ban offered a compromise - a temporary
extension of the ban for about 5 years, as long as the new bill treats all
Internet technologies equally.
"If you can have the set of definitions that ensure competitive
environment, that you don't favor one set of providers over another, I'm
willing to consider a very significant concession," said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
© 2003 The Associated Press
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]