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Internet Tax Ban Stalled in Senate

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  • Ned Barnett
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2003
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      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.

      washingtonpost.com

      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
      Internet.

      Several states currently collect taxes on Internet access services, and
      opponents of the ban are worried that the legislation could limit this
      revenue source.

      "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



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