CenturyLink, USTelecom Hail Permanent Ban on State Internet Taxes

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The U.S. Senate has made permanent a ban on local and state taxes of broadband services, a move that was hailed by the telecommunications industry and others.

Congress first passed the Internet Tax Freedom Act in 1998, but lawmakers have continually extended the measure in subsequent bills instead of making it permanent, until now.

The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, noted the legislation prohibits states from taxing email and Internet access.

“First passed in 1998 as a temporary law, the Internet access tax moratorium has been renewed for more seasons than cult favorite TV shows like Arrested Development,” the Arlington Heights, Illinois-based Heartland Institute said. “Fans of lower taxes and online access will finally be able to see if there’s money in the banana stand, without having to fear that lawmakers will levy taxes on the broadband access they use every day.”{ad}

Telecommunications interests hailed the permanent ban, which was passed by a vote of 75 to 20 and contained in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act.

“The bipartisan legislation, when signed into law, will protect millions of Americans from discriminatory taxes on Internet access and encourage further innovation, investment, and increased broadband adoption,” said USTelecom President Walter McCormick.

CenturyLink issued a similar statement.

Peter Davidson, a Verizon executive who is responsible for federal legislative affairs and global public policy, said telecom taxes can exceed 20 percent in some jurisdictions.

“To put this in perspective, a family with several Internet accounts would pay an additional $300 per year without ITFA in place,” he wrote in a Feb. 11 public policy update.

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