October 26, 2007

Senate Goes 7 On Internet Tax Ban

Democratic leadership in the Senate, just as with the House, could not abide a permanent moratorium on local and state taxes on Internet access. This morning, they settled for a seven-year extension to the current ban, set to expire at the end of the month. That sets up a small showdown with the House in conference next week:

The U.S. Senate has approved legislation extending a moratorium on state Internet access taxes for seven years.

With only days left before the Internet tax ban was set to expire, the Senate reached a compromise between lawmakers who proposed a shorter extension and those who insisted it should be made permanent. ...

The vote came about two weeks after the House of Representatives approved a four-year extension of the Internet tax ban. The two chambers will now have to work out differences between the bills.

The struggle for a permanent solution to access continues. Despite a federal impulse to take control over anything remotely related to interstate commerce -- including, inexplicably, education -- Congress can't quite comprehend the truly global interface that the Internet gives Americans. Keeping that access clear of confusing local and state barriers should be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, that describes Congress' approach to this issue all too well.

Seven years is better than four, and four is better than nothing. The House will likely defer to the Senate in kicking the can farther down the road in conference, but it's still a silly dodge for a Congress eager to shoulder powers that doesn't belong to the federal government elsewhere.


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