A bipartisan group of House members has reintroduced a bill that would make permanent the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), which prevents state and local taxes on Internet access in all but a handful of grandfathered jurisdiction.
Teaming up on the new permanent incarnation of ITFA, which passed the House in the last Congress (http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/washington/permanent-ban-isp-tax-p...), were Reps Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)--ranking member of the Communications Subcommittee--and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), joined Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Tom Marino (R-Pa.), according to the ITFA Coalition.
Eshoo and Goodlatte, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, are co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus and spearheaded the House-passed version.
IFTA, which expires unless reauthorized, has been extended five times since 1998, most recently through September 2015, when the moratorium was extended last month as part of a must-pass appropriations bill. (http://www.multichannel.com/news/content/itfa-renewed-through-september/...).
Cash-strapped states and local governments are always looking for new revenue sources, but the bill would make sure that would not include taxes on access to the Internet. That would make sense given that the government has made a priority of promoting Internet access and adoption and keeping the cost down.
The moratorium was supposed to expire Nov. 1, but the deadline was pushed back a couple of times as legislators worked on a House-passed version that would have made it permanent, and a Senate version that combined it with the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), which would give states and localities the ability to tax online sales.
Not surprisingly, ISPs have been pushing for passage of the permanent moratorium.
“We commend Chairman Goodlatte and Rep. Eshoo for introducing the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (HR 235) and urge Congress to pass this important legislation," said the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in a statement. By making the Internet tax moratorium permanent, we can continue to protect consumers and small businesses from burdensome state and local taxes on Internet access, encourage more Americans to connect, and promote the continued growth of the Internet."