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NH House kills bill to outlaw Internet access tax

Associated Press Published: May 9, 2012

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The state House on Wednesday voted to kill a bill that would have outlawed taxing Internet access in New Hampshire.

The House voted 247-93 to kill the Senate-passed proposal.

Afterward Senate President Peter Bragdon, R-Milford, urged the House to "realize their mistake and reconsider."

Bragdon said the Senate would leave it to the House to revive the bill. Under legislative deadlines, the two chambers have until the end of May to bring the measure back to life.

"I'm not the one who killed it," Bragdon said.

House Speaker William O'Brien, R-Mont Vernon, fired back that the Senate should explain why it refused to accept another section in the bill passed by the House that put $16 million in surplus from the fiscal year that ended June 30 into the state's savings account. The Senate said the state faced too many uncertainties to earmark the money for savings.

Both chambers had voted to dedicate $1.5 million in additional surplus money to provide services to the disabled on a wait list. That funding also died with the House action to kill the Internet tax ban.

State law currently does not define Internet access and was written before the Internet was widely used and before the invention of wireless networks, which allow access to the Internet over smartphones.

The bill would have modified the 1990 law by prohibiting taxing the charges consumers pay to gain access to the Internet through broadband and wireless connections.

The tax is charged on two-way phone use, other voice communications and text messaging as well as on bundled charges when companies don't break out two-way voice and text communications.