The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

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Running Down the Clock on Internet Taxes

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to do something important. That is exactly what is happening on the Hill this week. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) is set once again to expire at midnight on December 11, 2015.

Clarity Needed in Taxation of Digital Goods

With technology changing the way consumers listen and view music and videos, state and local governments are now looking toward taxation of digital goods and services to increase their tax revenues. Currently, 17 states require by statute that taxes be paid on digital goods and services, and another eight states plus the District of Columbia draw this authority from their departments of revenue regulations or case law.

Modernizing the Copyright Office

The digital economy is continuing to grow, and copyright works, including books, movies, music and other creative works, play a large role in that growth. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance, copyright contributes more than $1 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product, and copyright industries employ nearly 5.5 million workers.

The Need for More Spectrum Auctions

A May 11, 2015 report from the Brattle Group estimates the value of the 645.5 MHz of licensed spectrum currently in use at almost $500 billion. Beyond the monetary value of this spectrum are the services provided to consumers using licensed spectrum through their mobile devices. According to the report, economists have estimated that the total social benefits achieved from using licensed spectrum are at least 10 to 20 times the direct economic value of the spectrum itself.

Time to Reform FCC’s Designated Entity Program

There is a problem when a large business is able to use a federal program designed to help small and minority-owned businesses in order to obtain discounts from the government.

Municipal Broadband Proposal Seeks to Overturn State Laws

The President continued his preview of the State of the Union address on January 14, 2015 by announcing that among the top priorities for this year will be “removing barriers” for faster Internet speeds.

Innovation = Jobs

Innovation creates jobs.

That is the central premise of Jay Walker’s keynote address, “Making Innovation Work for America and Americans,” at the first meeting of the IP Dealmakers Forum on November 6, 2014. The forum linked investors together with intellectual property (IP) information and opportunities.

House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Taxes

Consumers across America are increasingly using the Internet to shop, apply for jobs, perform schoolwork, and email one another.  In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission found in its annual report on advanced communications capabilities that 95 percent of Americans have access to broadband Internet services.  According to the International Telecommunications Union, 84.2 percent of individuals in the U.S.

City Residents Tell Investment Group No

According to a June 18, 2014 article by Deseret News, residents of Lindon, Utah rejected a proposed partnership with the Australian-based Macquarie Group that would have given Macquarie control of the Lindon fiber optic network for 30 years.  Lindon is the first member of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) to decline the Macquarie proposal.

The Clock is ticking on Internet Taxation

Less than six months from now, citizens across the country could face new taxes.  That is when the moratorium banning taxes on Internet access and discriminatory duplicate taxes on Internet services expires.  While legislation to make the moratorium permanent has been introduced with bi-partisan support, the clock is ticking leading up to the November 1, 2014 expiration.

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