The U.S. Senate, after a lot of hemming and
hawing, passed a bill making the Internet Tax
Freedom Act permanent. This legislation means that
federal law will now protect Internet access services
and email from state and local governments taxing them
by imposing taxes on Internet use of any and all kinds.
After several short-term extensions of this ban since its
enactment in 1998, permanency has been granted to this
rule, and we have some surprising helpers in Washington
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell steered the bill
toward enactment as part of a larger customs bill. Senator
Ron Wyden (D-OR), who co-authored the original law,
has worked steadily to keep the ban in force. House Judiciary
Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
have been magnificent in keeping tax collectors from
getting their claws on the wallets of online consumers.
Although Senators Wyden and Thune along with Rep.
Goodlatte are to be commended for their efforts to make
this legislation law, it's good to see Sen. McConnell do
something helpful for a change! Kudos to all these legislators.
And this will make your eyes bug: President Obama is willing
to sign the bill! His reason is that he favors the larger customs
bill that included measures that he believes will help Congress
pass his Pacific trade pact later this year. I know; he is willing
to, in this instance, do the right thing for the wrong reason.
Your faithful Peasant will discuss the problems with this trade
agreement and others like it that have previously been enacted
at a later time, but for now let us be grateful that our president,
who heretofore has never met a tax he didn't like, is acting to
keep the Internet free of taxes.
With our nation's economy still sluggishly slogging along,
and the world economy not faring much better, this is most
welcome news. This is also a very strong, pro-investment
sign, and it could not have come at a better time!
UPDATE: The House was scheduled to vote on this legislation
today. Your faithful Peasant will keep you up to date on the
upshot of it and will of course provide commentary! (4/15/16)