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Internet Tax Freedom Act Gets Bipartisan Push

Legislators from both parties and both houses of Congress are calling on House Leadership to bring the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) to the floor for a vote, and Senate leaders to pass a bill as well.

That came in a letter Thursday from the cochairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, ranking House Communications Subcommittee member Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Senate Judiciary chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Commerce Committee ranking member Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

The bill, spearheaded by Goodlatte,  passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 30 to 4.

The moratorium expires in November if not renewed, and soon House and Senate members will be returning to the home front to get re-elected so the need for speed is an issue.

"We urge you to support H.R. 3086 and S. 1431 and bring them to the floor as soon as possible to ensure passage of the bills prior to the August recess," they wrote. "This would ensure that millions of consumers do not receive notifications informing them that their Internet bills may increase in November. Extending ITFA permanently will provide much-needed certainty to consumers and businesses and will preserve the benefits of Internet access for all Americans."

The act would make permanent the current moratorium on taxes on Internet access, which applies to all but seven states whose taxes were grandfathered back in 1998 when the original, temprorary, moratorium was passed. The new bill would also un-grandfather the states, given they have had 16 years to transition to other revenue sources, say the bill's backers.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.