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Tech Fact #1 - From 'Remember the Maine' to 'No New Taxes': A History of the Telecommunications Excise Tax
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Press Release

Tech Fact #1 - From 'Remember the Maine' to 'No New Taxes': A History of the Telecommunications Excise Tax

The federal excise tax on telecommunications is an outdated and ineffective levy that harms consumers. First taken off the books in 1902, the telecommunications excise tax continues to resurface. Time and again public officials promise to end the tax on talking. For more than a century, these promises have been broken, forgotten or ignored.

07/29/1999
Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Prepared Statement of Kent Lassman before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, an
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Press Release

Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Prepared Statement of Kent Lassman before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade, an

In 1899, Lee de Forest completed doctoral work at Yale studying the length and velocity of electromagnetic waves. In the introduction to his autobiography, Father of Radio, de Forest wrote, "I discovered an Invisible Empire of the Air, intangible, yet solid as granite."1 A century after de Forest’s experiments, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is an empire of the airwaves; its form is difficult to grasp and it is solidly entrenched in the federal budget. Like de Forest, I believe in progress and progress requires alternatives to increased federal funding for the CPB.

07/20/1999
Capitol Comment 240 - Taxpayer Double Whammy:
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 240 - Taxpayer Double Whammy:

Consumers of telecommunications services, advocates of smaller government, and ultimately, the U.S. Constitution are under attack by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Recently, the FCC not only unilaterally raised the federal telephone E-Rate tax (also known as the "Gore-tax" after its chief promoter Vice President Al Gore) by 73 percent, but it also took deliberate steps to block phone companies from identifying the tax on their customers’ phone bills.

06/15/1999
Capitol Comment 197 - Al Gore’s Hidden Phone Tax: Bad Economics, Bad Politics
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 197 - Al Gore’s Hidden Phone Tax: Bad Economics, Bad Politics

If you haven’t heard of the "Gore tax," you’re probably missing an important battle over the nature of American democracy and the American economy. The battle has two fronts and the public is losing on both. On one front, the methodical centralization of power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats moves forward. On the other, the burdening of our economy continues. Here are the details of the current skirmish:

07/24/1998
Capitol Comment 198 - Would We Tax Freedom?
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 198 - Would We Tax Freedom?

Last month, Lady Margaret spoke and the House moved. The remarks of Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the World Congress on Information Technology reinforced the idea that information is an essential component of freedom. As such, it should not be heavily taxed.

07/24/1998
Capitol Comment 185 - A Policy Two-Step that is a Political Winner
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 185 - A Policy Two-Step that is a Political Winner

"Life is better here," claims a new advertisement for a telecommunications company. The slogan conjures images of individuals free of hassles and ready to tackle the challenges of the 21st century with technology as an ally. Unfortunately, today’s laws and regulations stand in the way. Life certainly would be better if American consumers could save more than $85.1 billion over the course of the next five years. Sound farfetched? Sadly, it would only require the introduction of a dose of common sense to federal telecommunications policy.

05/13/1998
The Internet Tax Freedom Act Puts Consumers on Top
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Press Release

The Internet Tax Freedom Act Puts Consumers on Top

The Internet Tax Freedom Act, H.R. 1054 and S. 442, would call time-out on taxes that discriminate against electronic commerce and the Internet. The ITFA would institute a moratorium to preclude double taxation of electronic commerce and taxation that singles out the Internet for excise-type taxes. For consumers and taxpayers, the ITFA addresses three important points.

03/06/1998
Capitol Comment 158 - Cox-Wyden Putting Internet Taxation on Hold
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Capitol Comment

Capitol Comment 158 - Cox-Wyden Putting Internet Taxation on Hold

The promise shown by the emergence of electronic commerce has attracted some undesirable attention - taxes. States and localities have recently been examining an extension of their tax authority to Internet related activities. The result could be a maze of multiple taxation that stymies emerging commercial activity.

05/22/1997

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