The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Senate Plans Short-term Fix to Taxes on Internet Access

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


If Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gets his way, taxes on Internet access and other discriminatory or duplicate taxes will only be staved off until 2015, rolling the final decision on whether to make it permanent or to attach other more controversial measures onto the bill either for consideration during a lame duck session or until next Congress.

According to a July 24, 2014 Roll Call article, the current plan is to pass a short-term measure extending the existing moratorium on Internet taxes until early 2015.  A May 7, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal estimated that if legislation extending or making permanent the current moratorium on Internet taxes is not passed before November 1, 2014, an average household could pay an additional $50 to $70 per year if their state or local government decided to apply either sales or telecommunications taxes to Internet access.

According to an article in The Hill on July 24, 2014, a Senate aide claimed “The sponsors wanted to move that bill before the August recess, but we simply ran out of time on the Senate floor.”  This inaction on the part of the Senate does not take into account that the House just passed H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act with wide bi-partisan approval and similar legislation, S. 1431, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act, also has bi-partisan support from a majority of Senators.

Waiting until September to pass legislation in the Senate also does not account for the need to conference bills between the two chambers, should the Senate bill contain different provisions than the bill passed by the House on July 15, 2014.  This means more delays while the clock ticks away toward the November 1, 2014 expiration of the moratorium.

It is unfortunate that the leadership in the Senate has decided to kick the can down the road instead of protecting American citizens from new taxes on their Internet access or duplicative and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce.

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