Congress still flirting with taxing the Internet

Posted by on September 20, 2014
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Senators look to lame-duck session to pass Internet sales tax bill

Top Senate lawmakers think they have found a way to allow states and local governments to tax Internet purchases: Link online sales taxes to separate legislation prohibiting Internet access taxes and pass it in the post-election “lame duck” session of Congress.

The moratorium on access taxes runs out Dec. 11. A bill by Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., titled the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act, would extend the moratorium for a decade while allowing states to require online merchants to charge sales taxes.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the number-two ranking Democrat, is a co-sponsor. The backers are hoping that access taxes — which would slap levies on customers for their Comcast or Verizon Internet accounts — will be the more unpopular of the two provisions and that Congress will accept the sales taxes to get rid of them.

“Both … have been debated at length and discussed in numerous committee hearings. Neither are new issues and Senator Enzi believes both should be signed into law this year,” said Enzi spokesman Daniel Head.

Head said the legislation had a strong chance to be voted on in December, which lobbyists on both sides expect as well. A Senate Democratic leadership source said they were “keeping their options open.”


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Keith Plunkett

Keith Plunkett

Keith Plunkett is a journalist and policy writer for ANM News. He is sought after in his home state of Mississippi as a political consultant for his skills as a communications strategist. He has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, governmental agencies and non-profits for nearly 15 years. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations.