Congress Blocks Tax on Internet Connections

Rhett Pardon
WASHINGTON — Congress on Friday blocked state and local governments from taxing consumer Internet connections — both traditional dial-up services high-speed broadband lines — for the next three years.

The bill, which will now be sent to President Bush for his signature, also blocks multiple state and local taxes from being imposed on merchandise and services purchased over the Internet, including online adult content.

States that had started taxing Internet access before the first ban, enacted in 1998, can continue collecting those fees. States that tax fast DSL lines must start phasing out the levies. The tax moratorium ends in November 2007.

The decision to block an Internet tax comes a day after researchers testified to a Congress subcommittee on “porn addiction.”

Online adult material is hooking adults into an addiction compared to heroin or crack that threatens their jobs and families, a panel of anti-porn advocates told the hearing organized by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., a Christian conservative.

Mary Anne Layden, a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania, told of one patient, a business executive, who arrived at his office at 9 a.m. each day, logged onto online adult sites, and didn't log off until 5 p.m.

She called on Congress to provide funds for billboards and bus ads warning people to avoid porn, strip clubs and prostitutes.