On behalf of nearly 850,000 FreedomWorks members nationwide, I write to urge you to VOTE YES on the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.156/H.R.743).
While taxes may be one of life’s certainties, the Internet has, so far, miraculously managed to escape the clutches of revenue-hungry government tax collectors. That may change if Congress doesn’t get its act together – and fast.
Back in 1998, Congress passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act, imposing a three-year moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access. The moratorium came just as some local governments began to extend their very high telecommunications taxes to accessing the Net. Our goal was simple: encourage the spread of this important new technology by preventing government from strangling it in its crib with high taxes.
After a two-year extension was passed in 2001, the Internet tax moratorium expired last November. This time around, Congress should make the ban on Internet taxes permanent. A bill to do just that raced through the House with broad bipartisan support and won the endorsement of the Bush Administration. But now the Senate is stalling on this important piece of legislation.
For consumers, the situation is no laughing matter. State and local access fees could add 20-25% to the average Internet consumer’s bill – a tax hike of about $150 per year. That may not sound like much in Washington, but it could strand millions of low-income Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide. And higher Internet charges could hinder small business from gaining access to the technology they need to compete with larger companies. Schools, libraries and other educational and research institutions with limited budgets would also take a hit.
Members of the Senate have a choice to make. They can give the green light to state and local governments to saddle Internet users with a myriad of new taxes and fees. Or they can lock the tax man away permanently and throw away the key. That should be a pretty easy call.
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