Monday, October 15, 2007

More On Internet Taxation

Some in Congress, such as Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, are looking for ways to allow cities and counties and states to start charging you new taxes for accessing the internet. I mentioned this last week along with my objections and questions about such legislation.

There was a state legislative effort earlier this year (fortunately defeated) to allow telephone companies to bypass local franchise agreements for offering cable television and alter the law for a single state application for service, which I wrote about as well.

And given the push for internet taxation, it is worth recalling that if that telephone companies get their way when they push their legislation again, cities and counties will lose income. As I said before: "
If the state does approve the end of locally created franchise agreements, then cities and counties will be looking for new ways to replace that lost income - more taxation."

Also, I received some emails about whether or not Tennessee taxed internet access. So I point out this post from Les Jones on that topic from 2004, when the state eliminated internet access taxes.

So some suggestions for those favoring taxing internet access to create revenue for cities and counties - do not allow the franchise laws to be changed, and look instead to the potential income such already established agreements could bring. It makes no sense to me to always charge the end-user higher and higher fees. Consistent and open competition for service is the way to go. Seeking new ways to tax an ever-expanding technology will harm both expansion and competition.

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