Thune Will Reintroduce Senate Version of ITFA

Bill Would Permanently Bar Taxing Internet Access

New Commerce Committee chairman Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) says he plans to reintroduce the Internet Tax Freedom Forever bill in the coming weeks.

That is the bill that would permanently prevent the taxing of Internet access service.

Thune signaled that in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute Wednesday, Jan. 28.

In the speech outlining his communications priorities for the committee, Thune said: "I am eager to continue my work to make the moratorium on Internet access taxes permanent and I expect to reintroduce the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act with Senator [Ron] Wyden in the coming weeks."

A House version of the bill was introduced in the new Congress earlier this month.

IFTA, which expires unless reauthorized, has been extended five times since 1998, most recently until September 2015, when the moratorium was extended last month as part of a must-pass appropriations bill.

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.