July 16 2014
Good news for all of us who use email: The Internet Tax Freedom Act passed in the House yesterday with bipartisan support. This means that the wise policy, established in the 1990s, of not taxing internet use has a good shot at continuing.
Unfortunately, however, this is by no means assured. The bill still has to get passed in Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate, and, as a piece in the Wall Street Journal editorial pages notes:
A cabal of state tax and local collectors is lobbying the Senate to hold the Internet Tax Freedom Act hostage. Their plan is to tie an extension of the longstanding ban on email taxes to their controversial plan to give states and municipalities new powers to collect sales taxes on transactions far outside their borders. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat, is mulling whether to lead the hostage-taking for these taxing interests.
Since this sales-tax scheme has been going nowhere in the House, the Durbin gang could end up shooting the hostage, as the Internet Tax Freedom Act is due to expire on November 1. And that may be the outcome they really want anyway, given how deep in the fiscal hole states like Illinois are.
But do you really want to bail out Dick Durbin’s state’s spending habits every time you send an email?
The internet has been a platform for enormous economic growth, for us individually and for entrepreneurial operations.
Do we want to sacrifice that?