WASHINGTON — The House voted Tuesday to make permanent a moratorium that prevents state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.
Under current law, the moratorium expires Nov. 1, exposing Internet users to the same kind of connection fees that often show up on telephone bills.
“This legislation prevents a surprise tax hike on Americans’ critical services this fall,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “It also maintains unfettered access to one of the most unique gateways to knowledge and engine of self-improvement in all of human history.”
The measure is backed by NetChoice, a trade association of online businesses and consumers.
The moratorium was first enacted in 1998. State and local governments that already had Internet taxes were allowed to keep them under the current moratorium.
But under the bill passed Tuesday, those jurisdictions would no longer be able to collect the taxes.
7 states may lose millions
Jurisdictions in seven states tax access to the Internet: Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.