Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Chairman Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) introduced H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). Last Congress, the House of Representatives passed PITFA by voice vote.
Access to the Internet is a critical gateway to jobs, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Original legislation that temporarily banned Internet access taxes, the Internet Tax Freedom Act, was first enacted in 1998 and extended five times with enormous bipartisan support. The most recent extension expires on October 1, 2015.
PITFA keeps the Internet affordable and drives innovation by banning access taxes permanently. If the moratorium is not renewed or made permanent, the potential tax burden on Americans would be substantial. It is estimated that Internet access tax rates could be more than twice the average rate of all other goods and services – and the last thing that Americans need is another tax bill on their doorsteps.
Chairman Goodlatte, Congresswoman Eshoo, Subcommittee Chairman Marino, Congressman Chabot, and Congressman Cohen issued the following statements:
Chairman Goodlatte: “Whether business owners or jobseekers, grandparents or students, all Americans benefit from tax-free access to the Internet. Internet access drives innovation and the success of our economy. It is a gateway to knowledge, opportunity, and the rest of the globe. And year after year, Congress has chosen to temporarily extend the bipartisan ban on Internet access taxes. The time has come to make this ban permanent.”
Congresswoman Anna Eshoo: “At the end of the 113th Congress, the House and Senate agreed to a one year extension of the ban on taxing Internet access, a necessary measure to avoid expiration of the ban that has protected access to broadband for every American and protected the growth of our digital economy. A permanent ban on Internet access taxes is the crucial next step, and the introduction of the bipartisan Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act reopens the debate in the new Congress. Passage of this bill would ensure that millions of consumers will not be burdened with an increase to their monthly Internet bills due to new state and local access taxes.”
Subcommittee Chairman Marino: “Our citizens are subject to taxation in almost every facet of their lives. Access to the Internet and thereby access to educational, health, safety, and entertainment information, is one of the last areas government has yet to tax. For too long the ban on taxation of access to the Internet has been temporary. This measure makes the ban permanent. The way it should be.”
Congressman Chabot: “When Congress first enacted the Internet tax moratorium in 1998, the Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, free from the stifling effects of taxation, the Internet has grown exponentially, becoming a significant driver of economic activity and growth and an essential component of our daily lives. By making the moratorium permanent, we can foster the Internet’s future growth and innovation, while helping to ensure that Internet access remains affordable for millions of Americans.”
Congressman Cohen: “The Internet is more than just a tool for communicating and exchanging information, it is a critical economic necessity for millions throughout our country. The American people deserve affordable access to the internet and the Permanent Internet Access Tax Freedom Act will help prevent unreasonable cost increases that hurt consumers and slow job creation.”