An opinion piece by Michael Price for the Coalition for a Connected West
It goes without saying that the Internet plays a vital role in our lives. The Internet enables us to shop, watch the play from the playoffs that we missed and cat videos. It’s estimated that Americans spend 11 hours a day with electronic media like the radio, TV, the Internet and movies. Keeping the Internet affordable and accessible has been an important tenet of its growth and expansion. While many people – especially Congress – have disagreed on the best ways to do that, Congress and presidents agreed for more than a decade that state taxation to access the Internet is a bad idea.
That’s why in 1998 a law was passed called the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which prevented most states from assessing a sales tax on Internet access. There was an exception for states with a tax already on the books, but that only applied to seven states at the time. Since then, the law has been extended several times with bipartisan support.