The House unanimously passed a seven-year extension of a ban on Internet taxes, in harmony with a bill passed by the Senate last week. The bill goes to President Bush for approval, just two days before the existing tax moratorium is scheduled to expire, Computerworld reports.
While many Republicans and Bush had supported a permanent ban, Bush is expected to sign the seven-year plan.
It's great to see Congress act on time for a change and take an enormous step for Internet tax freedom -- banning access taxes and protecting e-mails and instant messaging for the next seven years," Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) said in a statement. "I will continue to fight for a permanent ban on access taxes, but this is a strong step forward. Taxing the Internet is wrong for consumers and wrong for the economy."
Washington politicians and lobbyists alike spoke enthusiastically about the extension. "Americans will not face a toll road when they get on the information superhighway" if Bush signs the bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said. The extension "will ensure continued investment and growth in the broadband marketplace," Verizon lobbyist Peter Davidson said, according to Bloomberg.
Even governors agreed the bill is `reasonable'' and will ``close tax loopholes, promote Internet usages and protect states,'' in the words of Raymond Scheppach, executive director of the National Governors Association in Washington.
One key issue: The original House bill failed to exempt email services not bought as part of an access package. The final version continues the exemption for independent email and IM services.