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Diverse coalition petitions Congress to permanently ban Internet access taxes

By   /   April 11, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Twenty-nine organizations are banding together to stop a tax for hopping on the information superhighway.

In a letter to members of Congress on Thursday, the group asked lawmakers to support a permanent ban on Internet access taxes.

Congress is currently facing a choice to permanently ban Internet access taxes.

Congress is currently facing a choice to permanently ban Internet access taxes.

A moratorium on Internet access taxes first enacted in 1998 is set to expire on Nov. 1. That moratorium also included a ban on multiple and discriminatory taxes on e-commerce.

A diverse group of organizations, joined together as the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition, asked members in the letter to support legislation that would extend the moratorium permanently — the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in the House and the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act in the Senate.

Among the groups that signed on to the letter, which circulated on Capitol Hill on Thursday, included the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Hispanic Leadership Fund, U.S. Black Chambers Inc., Women Impacting Public Policy, Americans for Tax Reform, HealthITNow.org  and MyWireless.org.

The coalition also includes three out of four of the nation’s major wireless providers — AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — along with CenturyLink, Comcast NBCUniversal, Cox Enterprises and Time Warner Cable.

Amazon.com also is a member of the coalition.

“While Congress and the president want consumer adoption, investment, deployment and innovation in broadband services, allowing the imposition of onerous taxes would nullify these goals,” said Steve Pociask, president of the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research.

“We need to not tax what we should encourage,” said Pociask.

“Ensuring that our business members continue to have affordable and reliable internet access will allow them to remain competitive in today’s global economy,” said Ron Busby Sr., president of U.S. Black Chambers Inc.

MyWireless.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit wireless advocacy organization, also is recruiting signatures for a recent petition the organization launched in support of the bills as well.

As of Thursday night, the petition had collected 44,542 signatures.

Contact Josh Peterson at [email protected]. Follow Josh on Twitter at @jdpeterson

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Josh Peterson is a writer and award-winning reporter focusing on technology, politics, culture, and national security. His current areas of interest include Internet governance, intellectual property, civil liberties, space, minority issues, climate and the environment, surveillance, cybersecurity, energy, and artificial intelligence. A contributor to Watchdog.org, he is currently a Robert Novak Journalism Program Fellow and previously served as Watchdog.org's national technology reporter and the Daily Caller's tech editor.