Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Politicians weigh renewal of Net access tax ban | CNET

Politicians weigh renewal of Net access tax ban | CNET
"WASHINGTON--With only months left on a moratorium restricting state governments from taxing Internet access, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday began a debate over whether the ban should be made permanent or allowed to lapse.

At issue is the scheduled expiration on November 1 of a law, initially enacted in 1998, that says local governments generally cannot tax Internet access, including DSL (digital subscriber line), cable modem and BlackBerry-type wireless transmission services. The law also prohibits governments from taxing items sold online in a different manner than those sold at brick-and-mortar stores, but it does not deal with sales taxes on online shopping."
Warning -- politicians involved.

This is a recurring issue, and one that I am of two minds about.

I remember the initial arguments that this would help the Internet get on its feet. Well, that has happened, and the Internet is doing right well.

Of course, legislatures are always looking for ways to keep the meter running, and I have little sympathy with that in view of the documented waste in our state government.

The issue of sales taxes is addressed by existing state laws requiring sales taxes to be paid on items bought out-of-state and shipped to your address. We all do that, right?

How would internet access be taxed? The existence of a line? Bandwidth capability of the line? Actual bandwidth used?

Another issue that an informed person should be aware of is Net Neutrality, which has been a bit of hot potato for a year or so.

Oh well. Something to look forward to in the Fall.

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