Powell Praises PITFA Passage

Fans of the just-passed permanent Internet Tax Fairness Act (PITFA), which bans taxes on Internet servcie, were weighing in Thursday (Feb. 11), including warning about the Internet sale tax legislation whose future consideration was a tradeoff for that passage.

"We applaud the Senate on today’s passage of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act Internet (ITFA) and thank Sens. [John] Thune and [Ron] Wyden for their leadership in shepherding this important legislation throughout the process," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell.

Thune is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and Wyden was co-author of the temporary ITFA back in 1998 and has been pushing to make it permanent.

"Internet access is more than a convenience, it’s critical to the daily lives of Americans," said Powell. "By keeping Internet access free from state and local taxes, ITFA will permanently keep down the cost of connectivity, enable more American consumers and businesses to get online and allow the Internet to further power economic growth. We urge President Obama to sign this important legislation to make ITFA permanent once and for all.”

“This is a great day for American consumers," said Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai. "The U.S. Senate passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act with a strong bipartisan vote. This confirms a national consensus that state and local taxes on Internet access should be taken off the table once and for all. These taxes would make (and in some places already have made) broadband more expensive, reducing consumers’ ability and willingness to get online. This, in turn, would reduce private sector investment in deploying broadband, especially in rural areas, and inhibit entrepreneurship. I hope the bill is enacted soon—Americans need and want the certainty that the digital world will be spared the taxman.”

"Having been integrally involved in the Internet Tax Freedom Act for many years, I am ecstatic that Congress is making it permanent and eliminating the exemptions," said Republican FCC Commissioner and former Republican Hill staffer Michael O'Rielly. "This is great news for American Internet consumers. By preventing state and local taxes on Internet access and double taxation, it marks a firm path for future Internet policies. All Senate leaders, especially Senators Thune, Hatch, and Wyden, deserve credit and our thanks."

"[F]rom one extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act to the next, CTIA has consistently sought to make this pro-consumer policy permanent," said CTIA President Meredith Attwell Baker. "Achievement of that objective is now at hand [actually it will be the President's hand, which will be signing the bill into law]. We thank Senator Wyden and Senator Thune for their leadership and persistence in support of making ITFA permanent. And likewise, we greatly appreciate the work that Representatives Goodlatte and Eshoo engaged in to push the bill through the House, setting up today’s vote. This is a big win for America’s consumers.”

"CenturyLink applauds the U.S. Senate, and Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune in particular, for approving legislation that permanently protects consumers and small businesses from being taxed on their Internet access by federal, state and local governments," said SVP for public policy and government relations John Jones. "Enacting a permanent Internet access tax moratorium is sound fiscal policy that will help grow the Internet economy by encouraging network investment and broadband adoption.”

“This is a tremendous victory for America’s Internet economy, and for all of us who participate in this economy,” said Institute for Policy Innovation president Tom Giovanetti. “States are now prohibited from passing discriminatory taxes on the Internet or from taxing Internet access itself. This will ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to access the Internet without the disincentive of higher costs through taxation.”

John Eggerton

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.