Experts Agree: Make Internet Access Tax Moratorium Permanent

Published September 18, 2007

The national moratorium on taxing access to the Internet, in place since 1998, is up for renewal in Congress. Experts contacted by The Heartland Institute recommend Members of Congress not extend the terms of the original agreement, but rather consider making the moratorium permanent. Technological innovation and development of the Internet as our primary source of news, entertainment, commerce, and economic development would not have happened–and cannot continue–with a burdensome and unnecessary tax on simply logging in online.

The following statements are by experts available to comment on the Internet tax moratorium. You may quote from these statements or contact the experts directly for further comment.

Sandy Liddy Bourne
National Legislation Manager
The Heartland Institute
phone 703/517-3585
email [email protected]

“The technology revolution is still in its infancy and should continue to grow unhindered by an Internet tax. We have yet to see the end result of innovation as the most advanced technology is just now reaching low-income households and rural areas of the country. The tax-free investment in Internet access has spurred growth in revenues at the local, state, and national levels through other ancillary taxed sources. Another tax simply will slow down economic growth in all sectors.”

Steven Titch
Senior Fellow for Telecom and Information Technology
Managing Editor, Infotech & Telecom News
The Heartland Institute
phone 312/925-0464
email [email protected]

“Almost 71 percent of Americans today use the Internet, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. This high level of penetration has undoubtedly been aided by Congress’ moratorium on taxation of access, which has kept service that much more affordable. In the U.S., the average combined state and local taxes on telecommunications services is already 11 percent–and as high as 16 percent in some parts of the country. Consumers don’t need more levies on yet another vital communications and information service. The moratorium on Internet access taxes has benefitted American consumers and businesses. Congress should make it permanent.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow
Managing Editor, Budget & Tax News
The Heartland Institute
phone 815/385-5602
email [email protected]

“For about the price of an ordinary television set, even the poorest families and the smallest businesses can buy a computer and enjoy the same access to the Internet as the richest families and largest businesses. However, if Congress allows the moratorium on Internet access taxes to expire in November, new taxes and the resulting higher costs will cause those who already are struggling to struggle harder … or give up their Internet access entirely. Rather than let the Internet access tax moratorium expire, Congress should work to make it permanent.”