The real thought-provoking stuffis at the end of the article.Some legislators are open to taxing VoIP service tohelp payinto the Universal Service fundthat subsidizes telephony servicesin rural areas. OtherCongresspeople, including House leaders, would rather not approve astipend thatto Internet users, would look like a tax.
Here's where it gets interesting. Let's go beyond the Times piece and examine the political winds here.
House leadership is currently in the hands of conservative Republicans who normally embrace the mantra of lower taxes. Yet so many of these rural areas thatpresumably would benefit by moresubsidies to the Universal Service fund arealso represented bytax-averse, conservative Republicans.
The Universal Service fund also helps subsidize services for the poor, many of whom live in urban areas likely to elect Democrats.
True, but that's not where the ideological conflict may lie.
It will be interesting totrack the"values" battle that goes on here betweenthe anti-taxsentiments of many rural, conservative legislators and the perceived need on the part of their rural constituents fortelephony services.