From: Adam Rifkin -4K (adam@XeNT.ics.uci.edu)
Date: Thu May 11 2000 - 14:50:16 PDT
That is, if the Senate will agree. Time to flood your Senator with
email saying, we don't need no steenkin Internet taxes...
> House Votes to Ban Internet Taxes for 5 More Years
> By LIZETTE ALVAREZ
> WASHINGTON, May 10 -- In a Republican bid to woo the high-technology
> industry and please taxpayers, the House today rushed to the floor and
> then handily passed a bill to extend the current moratorium on new
> Internet taxes until 2006.
> The moratorium, which is due to expire in October 2001, forbids states
> to try to find new ways of taxing Internet use, like imposing taxes on
> monthly access charges for Internet service providers.
> The legislation passed today, which faces an uncertain future in the
> Senate, does not directly address the question of sales taxes; it would
> not stop states from trying to collect taxes for goods sold on the Internet.
> By failing to address sales taxes, however, the measure alarmed some
> traditional retailers, as well as state governments that say they have
> found it nearly impossible to collect taxes for goods sold online.
> "The single largest contributor to our economic prosperity has been the
> growth of information technology -- the Internet," said Representative
> John R. Kasich, an Ohio Republican. "Why would we try to tax something,
> why would we try to abuse something, why would we try to limit something
> that generates unprecedented growth, wealth, opportunity and
> unprecedented individual power?"
> Critics of the bill say the moratorium, while seemingly benign, ignores
> the thorny question of how state and local governments can best collect
> taxes on the billions of dollars of merchandise sold over the Internet
> each year. These taxes are expected to provide a crucial future source
> of revenue for states, especially as more consumers buy goods online.
> The bill's opponents -- a consortium of retailers, small-business groups
> and governors -- say that consumers who buy merchandise over the
> Internet can easily circumvent the sales and "use" taxes that would be
> collected automatically if the same merchandise is bought at a
> bricks-and-mortar retail store.
> The National Governors' Association is working on the best way to
> collect electronic sales tax. Estimates have put the loss in sales tax
> revenue to the states at $8 billion a year by 2004.
> Retailers and small businesses have complained that the current system
> unfairly places at a disadvantage the traditional retailers that do not
> sell their wares online and must charge sales tax.
> "It's easy to imagine how these kinds of losses can affect state and
> local governments' ability to provide essential services," said
> Representative William D. Delahunt, a Massachusetts Democrat, citing the
> concerns of many governors. "They will be compelled to cut back local
> services or raise income taxes or property taxes."
> The bill even drew criticism from a few Republicans. Representative
> Ernest J. Istook Jr. of Oklahoma circulated a letter stating, "The
> Internet should not be singled out to be taxed, nor to be freed from tax."
> Still, the House voted overwhelmingly, 352 to 75, to pass the bill. A
> number of Democrats approved the measure after they received assurance
> that Congress would hold hearings concerning sales taxes and would try
> to come up with a solution.
> The moratorium "has absolutely nothing to do with the sales tax -- we
> will have the opportunity to have that debate," said Representative
> Robert Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican.
> The House bill faces a murkier future in the Senate. Senator John
> McCain, chairman of the Commerce Committee, who advocates a permanent
> tax moratorium, canceled a hearing on the bill last month after
> Republican senators, some of them former governors, expressed
> reservations about extending the moratorium.
> The legislation also faces opposition from the Clinton administration,
> which signaled support today for a two-year moratorium. The full House
> today rejected a two-year extension in a separate vote.
> Gov. George W. Bush, the likely Republican presidential nominee, has
> said he will support an extension of the moratorium. But the governor
> must tread carefully around the issue because Texas, which does not have
> a state income tax, would stand to lose substantial revenue if sales
> taxes are not made workable on the Internet.
> A spokesman for Al Gore said the vice president supported a two-year
> extension of the moratorium "at a minimum." If a five-year moratorium is
> put into place, "it should include flexibility" to adjust federal
> policies on Internet taxation "to take into account the fast-paced
> change in the Internet world."
May 11, 2000: India Population Hits One Billion. -- http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/i/AP-India-Billionth-Baby.html
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