When school ends for many children, their teachers assign summer reading to help them to be prepared for the next school year. In that spirit, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be assigning crucial summer reading for Congress so that they are prepared when they return from their five-week summer recess. With not much time left between now and the November midterm elections (less so this year since Congress is only scheduled to be in session from September 8 to September 23), the clock is even more limited than usual. The first installment of our ‘Summer Reading’ series centers on internet access taxes.
Congress took a major step earlier this year in making sure that internet access taxes would end for good when they passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (view the House bill here) on a voice vote. TPA urged every member of the House of Representatives to vote YES on the legislation. The passage of the legislation was a welcome development in what has been a very long battle. However, the work is only halfway done as now the Senate must take action and pass their version (view the Senate bill here).
Underscoring the need for Congressional action in both the House and the Senate, TPA joined with nearly 30 other groups in April signing a letter urging support for both the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086) and the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (S. 1431). The letter, which was bipartisan, laid out the case for why internet access taxes must be stopped:
Internet taxation affects all Americans from all political views and all walks of life. From healthcare to education, small business entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, the Internet has dramatically transformed the way everyone lives, works, and learns. In 2010, the Internet accounted for an estimated $684 billion, or 4.7 percent of all U.S. economic activity. While the Internet was a nascent technology when the current moratorium was established in 1998, it has become the economic engine driving innovation and growth in our 21st century economy. Throttling that engine at a time when our economy is struggling hurts not only those trying to invest in America’s future, but also those who can least afford it and have the most to gain from the Internet’s potential.
TPA continues to support S. 1431, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act. The legislation is being sponsored by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and like the House version, it would make the ban on internet access taxes permanent. Now that one chamber of Congress has acted, it is time for the other chamber to do their part.
Here are some reasons why the ban on internet access taxes must become permanent before it expires November 1, 2014:
1. Internet Access Taxes Will Harm Middle Class Families
2. Internet Access Will Harm Education, Innovation, & Commerce
4. Fifteen Years Have Passed Since The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA)
5. Congress Keeps Renewing the Moratorium, Time to Make it Permanent
6. Internet Access Taxes Make a Complicated Tax Code Even More Complicated
If those reasons aren’t enough for the Senate, look what happened when TPA took to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. earlier this summer. In a video featured on Townhall.com, TPA spoke to everyday people from all across the country about the possibility that they may be hit with a tax just for going online, unless Congress moved quickly to stop it from happening.
TPA, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition (ITFA) have continued to work on behalf of millions to highlight the importance of keeping the internet tax free. Last month a major victory was achieved in the House with the passage of PITFA. Now, the focus and pressure must move to the Senate as they have legislation ready and waiting for action. November is approaching and the tax moratorium will expire, unless the Senate follows the House's lead, TPA urges them to enact bipartisan legislation that will prevent Internet access taxes from becoming a harmful reality for all Americans.
Michi Iljazi is the Communications and Policy Manager with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.
Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on Taxpayer Protection Alliance and was republished here with permission.