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The House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 1644, the “Save the Internet Act,” a wide sweeping piece of legislation sponsored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), that would allow all levels of government to tax the internet.

Americans for Tax Reform urges a “No” vote on H.R. 1644.

The bill reclassifies the internet as a Title II service and allows state, local and federal government to increase the cost of internet service by at least twenty percent.

Twenty percent is the average fee Americans pay on their mobile or home voice options, aka telecommunications service. Today, Americans are not taxed on internet service. Under the Pelosi bill, state and local governments in addition to the federal government would be able to tax data. Not only will mobile phone bills go up but so will the price of home internet.

If the legal definition of the internet is changed to a telecommunications service, all levels of government can increase taxes, likely without a vote, on data use that both the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act banned.  

For a mobile bill that is $100 per month, taxes and fees as a result of H.R. 1644 would tack on at least $240 more per year and an additional $360 per year on a home internet bill that is $150 per month. That’s an extra $600 a year — on the low end because states would be able to tax internet service too.

The so-called “Save the Internet Act” is not about saving the internet or net neutrality. It is about the government controlling and taxing internet service.

Regulatory ping-pong does not benefit Americans. Going back and forth every time a new administration comes into office reduces regulatory certainty in the market. While investment poured back into the market after we returned to a light touch approach, we need permanent legislation that can ensure the internet is free and open without opening the door to thousands of taxes on internet service.

Changing the legal definition of the internet does not benefit anyone, except for the levels of government that can rake in more money from American taxpayers under a Title II regime. ATR urges the House Representatives to vote against H.R. 1644.

Click here to read an op-ed on the bill.