Dear Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, and Leader Pelosi,
We write to you as Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Internet Caucus to urge you to facilitate passage of a permanent extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) prior to the August recess. First passed in 1998, ITFA placed a moratorium on the ability of state and local governments to impose new taxes on Internet access or to impose multiple or discriminatory taxes on e-commerce. The most recent extension in 2007, passed both houses unanimously.
The moratorium is in effect only through November 1, 2014, and all of us have sponsored or cosponsored bipartisan legislation to extend it permanently -- H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act in the House, and S. 1431, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act in the Senate. The moratorium's expiration poses a threat to many of the current benefits of the Internet for American citizens. The Internet ecosystem that has flourished under the moratorium currently provides:
Affordable access to the Internet for consumers and businesses;
A pathway to jobs, customers, and global commerce for citizens and "mom and pop" storeowners;
A foundation for innovation in every sector of the economy, including education, health care, manufacturing, news, and entertainment; and
A platform for citizen participation in civic affairs.
These benefits will all be imperiled by the expiration of ITFA and the potential imposition of thousands of new state and local taxes on Internet access, which would discourage broadband adoption and investment. We therefore urge you to support H.R. 3086 and S. 1431 and bring them to the floor as soon as possible to ensure passage of the bills prior to the August recess. This would ensure that millions of consumers do not receive notifications informing them that their Internet bills may increase in November. Extending ITFA permanently will provide much-needed certainty to consumers and businesses and will preserve the benefits of Internet access for all Americans.
Co-Chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus