Bridge Span 13-13: A Permanent End to Online Discrimination

For more than 15 years, four different times, the battles against the pro-tax thugs who want to loot the Internet with multiple and discriminatory taxes have continued. The latest battle is forming up as detailed in a new piece I wrote for IPI.  Once again making the Internet moratorium permanent, and removing the many grandfathered exceptions made for various states, and to prohibit multiple or discriminatory taxes online, is up for debate as the clock begins to run out on the current moratorium.

To further this end Senators Wyden and Thune introduced the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act in the Senate, and this week Congressmen Goodlatte and Eshoo introduced the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in the House.

The reality has changed since the moratorium was first put in place in 1998 as increasingly, online access means mobile access.  When the law was drafted mobility was defined as how far a PC could be moved before the telephone line snapped out its wall jack.  These days not getting perfect reception anywhere and at any time seems cause for outrage.


And while access taxes are certainly a bad idea when applied to fixed access their discriminatory roots are amplified when applied to mobile access, as such tax is nothing more than a double tax on the same service.  Already wireless taxes are at abusive levels.  Nationally, the average tax rate on wireless service is now at 17.2%, or 232% higher than the 7.4% average sales tax rate imposed upon other goods and services.  For more on overall tax burden placed on wireless check out this entertaining video.


And the opportunities for increasingly creative multiple or discriminatory taxes are endless if one understands how mobile works, and if the moratorium were no longer in place. (another entertaining video)


The Internet tax moratorium was always supposed to be permanent.  The drafters of it could never imagine a time when discriminatory taxes placed on those who operated online would be acceptable, or when double taxing the provision of Internet access would be good public policy.


Fifteen years after it was first enacted it is time to finally make permanent the Internet tax moratorium, finally turning away those who are unfairly looking for an easy tax payday.

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