One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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Leftist states, counties and cities around the nation are following the federal lead, taking our coin at prodigious levels – in multitudinous ways. All the while, anyone who makes any money looks to flee those confines – and find far friendlier places to work and live.
The last thing the Feds should do is create new ways for these greedy down-ticket governments to dig further into our pockets. And worse – nationalize these greedy local governments’ ability to tax us.
There are two prospective new, massive Internet tax bills currently under consideration in Washington. One is the woefully misnamed Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). Which will allow nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions to sales tax everyone in the nation – not just their respective citizens.
Imagine huge government places like California being able to tax you – no matter that you are wise enough to not reside in huge government places like California. Taxation without representation, anyone?
This will massively grow government at every level. Because governments everywhere will continuously raise taxes on people who can’t vote them out of office – to bribe with goodies those who can. (It’s why hotel and car rental taxes are oft so ridiculously high – governments figure most of the people paying them don’t live there.)
That other Internet tax bill in DC? Is actually an anti-tax measure – the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). Which will prohibit the Feds and these down-ticket governments from taxing your Internet access. Meaning governments would take your money – for having the audacity to go online.
Get that? The same big government advocates who are constantly complaining about not enough Americans accessing the Web – want to tax people for accessing the Web. That’ll help.
Democrats – and some inordinately disappointing Republicans – support the MFA. (Shocker: Just about no one else in the nation does.) To jam through the MFA, its advocates have repeatedly sought to link it to PITFA. “We’ll pass PITFA – if it’s a simultaneous passage of MFA.”
MFA advocates are holding hostage a permanent prohibition on 10,000 governments taxing their citizens’ Internet access. To ensure the absolutely awful MFA allows 10,000 governments to tax the online purchases of every citizen in America – regardless of whether or not they are represented by those governments.
As a result of this attempted hostage-taking, Congress has repeatedly passed temporary Internet access tax moratoriums (ITFAs, if you will). As with all things herky-jerky-short-term government does – this is terrible for the private sector. Uncertainty, anyone? Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to repeatedly attempt to budget with these new taxes in mind – and repeatedly notify their customers that these taxes are looming. Only to repeatedly receive last-second stays of execution.
Hence the “P” in PITFA – customer advocates in Congress wisely want to make it permanent. And We the People currently see light at the end of the tunnel (and for once it isn’t Amtrak).
Currently under Congressional consideration is the United States customs reauthorization bill. It has actually already passed the House – and awaits action in the Senate. And contained therein is PITFA – bereft of any MFA whatsoever.
Let us once and for all end any prospective Internet access taxes. And do so without allowing 10,000 governments nationwide from sales-taxing hundreds of millions of non-residents – who have no way to vote to stop them.
Governments tax the Internet – and everything else – more than enough already.