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House Reps Call for Internet Access Tax Moratorium Vote

Thirty-two members of the House of Representatives sent a letter yesterday to Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL, urging him to schedule a vote this week during the lame-duck session of Congress to extend the Internet tax moratorium.

The moratorium expired Nov. 1, 2003. Prior to that expiration, the House passed H.R. 49, a bill that would have permanently extended the moratorium on state and local Internet access taxes.

In April, the Senate passed its own version of the legislation, S. 150, which extends the moratorium for another four years, banning taxes on Internet access through Nov. 1, 2007.

The Senate version also covers DSL connections, which many states and local governments taxed during the original moratorium. However, the Senate bill excludes Voice over Internet Protocol services that let consumers use the Internet to make telephone calls.

The letter to Hastert calls for a vote on the Senate version of the bill.

In the letter, the House members said “although we prefer the permanent extension found in H.R. 49, we believe it is time to resolve this issue and pass S. 150. The Internet tax moratorium expired over one year ago. For over one year, ISPs and consumers have had to deal with the very real possibility that all fifty states could tax Internet access.”

The letter continues, “We cannot continue to allow this uncertainty to harm the future of the Internet. The Internet has been a driving force in our economy. A toll to enter the information superhighway is not good policy today, and it won't be good policy when the 109th Congress convenes in January. It is time to provide certainty to the market and consumers. We urge you to schedule a vote for S. 150 this week.”

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