Internet bill chance to eliminate ‘retail divide’

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — It is an election year, so no one expects Congress to take many bold actions in the next few months.

But there does seem to be a consensus about clearing up some of the taxation issues that have risen over the past decade concerning the Internet.

One question is whether states should be allowed to tax Internet access — in other words, add a tax on the money you pay to your Internet provider. If you check your telephone bill, you will notice that such “access” taxes are not a new idea.

But currently, the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act bans such a tax, and there is a move to keep it that way. As digital communication touches almost every aspect of our lives, access and the lack of access can create a “digital divide” that creates opportunities for those who have it and obstacles for those who do not.

So, proponents argue it makes sense to avoid adding the burden of extra costs. Recently, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act to extend the ban on access taxes, and the size of the majority (30-4) indicates broad support.

But there is another Internet equity and tax issue that needs to be addressed…

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