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US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the potholes-on-the-information-superhighway dept.

The Internet 148

jfruh writes: In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed a law that temporarily banned all taxes imposed by federal, state, and local governments on Internet access and Internet-only services, a ban that has been faithfully renewed every year since. Now the U.S. House has passed a passed a permanent version of the ban, which also applies to several states that had passed Internet taxes before 1998 and were grandfathered in under the temporary law. The Senate must pass the bill as well by November 1 or the temporary ban will lapse.

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How about fees? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468591)

Could they tack a rider onto that sucker mandating out-the-door advertised prices while they're at it?

Re:How about fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470057)

Correction: Republicans passed a bill in the House that would make the internet tax ban permanent.

Democrats have never some across something they didn't want to tax.

Re:How about fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470273)

Would Republicans tax solar?

Re:How about fees? (1)

Triklyn (2455072) | about 3 months ago | (#47470285)

... it was renewed reliably year after year since 1998...

If the ringing in my ears from the "nancy pelosi" whinging that happened a few back is anything to go by, it's a bi-partisan issue.

This will die in the senate (3, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | about 3 months ago | (#47468607)

They'll never pass up an opportunity to squeeze more money to fund pet projects back home. Hell, they're already talking about tapping the untouched potential of my 401(k).

Re:This will die in the senate (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468833)

what do you mean YOUR money. You just have what they allow you to under the grace of his lord, Obama. Hollowed be his name. He knows better what you should do with it than you do, so don't worry. "Free" Healthcare and working til 90 is the way to go!

Re:This will die in the senate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468959)

What do you mean 90, I thought it was supposed to be until you drop (as in expire).

Re:This will die in the senate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469175)

What do you mean 90, I thought it was supposed to be until you drop (as in expire).

You people are so lazy. This is how it used to be back in the days of freedom and no income tax. You worked until you died. Our founding fathers would be ashamed of you. Saving for a work free retirement was a ridiculous concept unless you were fabulously wealthy.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

halivar (535827) | about 3 months ago | (#47469227)

Back then, though, the drop-dead date was usually the modern retirement age; so yeah, it could be pushed back a little bit.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

Cammi (1956130) | about 3 months ago | (#47469781)

Right now, the drop-dead date is before the modern retirement age, so .... hmmm

Re:This will die in the senate (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47470783)

no, it wasn't. If you live through your tax paying year to 60, it was very likely you would live just as long as you would now.

Male - 1940 would live 13 years after turning 60
Male - Now live 15.5 years after turning 60.

So it a couple of years, easily adjusted for and planned for. Don't by into the pub/libertarians lies. SS is fine.
In fact, with a minor change, we could lower the age of retirement, I know, it's counter intuitive and requires math.

Really we nee congress to stop stealing the money from SS the we pay into.

Re:This will die in the senate (3, Interesting)

Sowelu (713889) | about 3 months ago | (#47469277)

In truth, this is also why Social Security has its problems. When it was established, it was "You likely won't live to use it, but if you do, you will be well taken care of". It was insurance against an uncommon and, in a way, kind of negative thing happening to you: Living to an age such that you could no longer support yourself. It was a luxury that not many people had, and it could absolutely be hard on your family. Of course, now almost everyone lives long enough to collect it.

No, it wasn't meant to be a replacement for savings, and you weren't supposed to get out what you put in. A small portion of the population was supposed to collect it, because most of them didn't live long enough to.

Re: This will die in the senate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469611)

Social Security's current problem (its income being lower than its outflow ) because of assumptions about the workforce and artificial limit s on its funding.

The biggest issue was the population burst after WW2 followed by a decline after.

Re:This will die in the senate (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469663)

Social security was absolutely meant as a replacement for savings. It just didn't mandate away the ability to save money independently from paying social security. Savings is personal financial security with sole benefit, Social security is community financial security with a shared benefit.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 3 months ago | (#47469705)

But only so long as the Ponzi Scheme was working. The real benefits were to the DNC and politicians in general who now have a wedge issue to divide the over 65 crowd from the under 45 crowd. Divide and conquer. People are too stupid to recognize it because .... FIFA BITING CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47470473)

Since when did people not commonly live into old age? People may live 5-10 years longer now than they did in 1800, but that is still at least well into their 60 on average (and of course that means 50% live far longer).

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 3 months ago | (#47470833)

It isn't that people didn't live long lives, it is that the average or median age of death was lower. Of course social security was implemented in 1935 not 1800, but the numbers may actually surprise you.

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/... [infoplease.com]

That should give you some interesting comparisons.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 3 months ago | (#47470485)

No, it wasn't meant to be a replacement for savings, and you weren't supposed to get out what you put in. A small portion of the population was supposed to collect it, because most of them didn't live long enough to.

Not entirely true. I think you are including childhood mortality. If you made it to age 20 (working age) in 1935, the year that the Social Security Act was enacted, you could expect to live to be about 66 years old if you were a man, or 68 if you were a woman [uoregon.edu] . This isn't a "small portion of the population", it is, by definition of being the average life expectancy, at least half the population.

Life expectancy has gotten longer but it has been a very gradual process and the taxes have increased over the years. The reason that the program is in trouble is because the taxes have not quite kept up, and politicians have been playing financial games with the savings for decades.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47470949)

" "You likely won't live to use it, but if you do, you will be well taken care of"
that is completely false. everything about it is just wrong.

People live a couple of years longer. then they did in 1940. That's it.

Re:This will die in the senate (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 3 months ago | (#47469339)

They'll never pass up an opportunity to squeeze more money to fund pet projects back home. Hell, they're already talking about tapping the untouched potential of my 401(k).

My guess is they may simply because they may not want to face a "Sen XX voted to raise taxes..." ad back home.

"over the objections of some Democrats" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468637)

Because the ISPs can't be the only one to fuck over the consumer, the government wants to get some of that action too.

Re:"over the objections of some Democrats" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470077)

It was "over the objections of some Democrats" because they didn't want to say (correctly) that the overwhelming majority of Democrats are tax and spend communists.

So then no public funded internet? (0)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 months ago | (#47468681)

This means no public internet, it will forever now be a private enterprise. Not sure I like that possibility in the long run given how the ISP monopolies behave.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468799)

This means no tax-funded internet, it doesn't mean municipal internet is dead.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47469123)

It doesn't even mean that. It means no tax funding of government Internet projects (or anything else) using taxes on (private) Internet services.

They can still fund it out of general funds (or state gas taxes, for that matter, which are often used for things other than roads.)

Re:So then no public funded internet? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468817)

Using taxes for internet is something completely different than taxing for using the internet. This law bans the latter. You're describing the former.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 3 months ago | (#47468837)

Not necessarily. It just means no public internet funded by a tax paid by people who pay for internet access and Internet-only services. The funding could come from general taxes.

There is also no guarantee that such taxes would go to fund public internet. It is quite possible that they would go into general revenue and be use to fund other things.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468839)

No, it means no taxes on internet access. If a city or state wanted to have a socialist-styled state owned ISP instead of the current craze of fascist-style state selected ISP, this would do nothing to stop them. Just as the repeated extensions of the original law have done nothing to regulate who sponsors/starts an ISP.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#47469797)

If a city or state wanted to have a public utility type state owned ISP instead of the current craze of profit/rent seeking privately owned ISP, this would incentivize the status quo.

There. FTFY.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#47470591)

Public utilities are (usually) still for-profit companies, just with government-set prices (and often a government-enforced monopoly). Taxes don't enter into it.

I'd love to see the "last mile" connection maintained by public utilities, breaking all cable company monopolies everywhere, but both "profit seeking" and "taxes" are orthogonal to that discussion.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 3 months ago | (#47470911)

I'd love to see the "last mile" connection maintained by public utilities, breaking all cable company monopolies everywhere,

I couldn't agree more.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468847)

Not to mention it only prevents them from taxing rivals to support it. They can still do it out of a property taxes, gas taxes, cigarrete taxes, whatever.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468849)

The summary talks about taxing internet access, not funding it. Please provide proper citations from the Bill that prohibit funding, or subsidizing, of internet access.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 months ago | (#47470369)

did not bother to look it up we are on /. after all but if other bills are anything to go by there are probably hunderds of pages to sift trough and after that a clerk in congress can add, modify or remove parts of the text before it gets published. Sometimes I wonder why US was ever an example of functioning democracy.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468871)

No. It says you can't charge a tax on Internet services (e.g. imposing a $0.10/Mbps surcharge). It doesn't say you can't charge a tax on other things, and then use that tax to provide Internet access.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469033)

Now I wish I was back on my 26.6k :( goddamn you Google!

the other way around (3, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 3 months ago | (#47468901)

The bill says that your internet bill won't be used to pay for government, not that government can't pay for internet. Concrete examples - you can't tax voting. Governments can and do pay for voting machines. You don't get taxed on sending your kids to school. The government does pay for government schools. You don't pay a tax on researching solar panels, the government does pay for solar panel research.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468963)

No publicly-funded-from-general-taxes internet. There's nothing in this law to say that infrastructure installations can't be paid for out of general tax funds. There just can't be a special "internet access improvement tax". Nor is there a ban against charging money for municipal internet service. Just that they can't tax it above and beyond the price of service.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (2)

AgentSmith (69695) | about 3 months ago | (#47468965)

Then universities will have to find a way to communicate information between them. They will allow students to communicate along this network and setup locations to have conversations. Soon the public in the surrounding areas will have access to this inter and intra connection. Languages will be formed to allow simpler communication and distribution. Soon it will be used by businesses and completes monetized. Then universities will have to find a way to . . .

Re:So then no public funded internet? (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47469057)

This means no public internet, it will forever now be a private enterprise. Not sure I like that possibility in the long run given how the ISP monopolies behave.

So you're saying you'd like the NSA to have direct access to your internet activity? Nice.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47470239)

So you're saying you'd like the NSA to have direct access to your internet activity? Nice.

They already have that, and meanwhile, we also get fucked over by the cable and phone companies.

Re:So then no public funded internet? (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 3 months ago | (#47469097)

No, this just means that local municipalities cannot attach an excise tax to internet service, like they do for telephone service.

Governments are free to spend tax dollars on building networks and providing access, within applicable legal frameworks.

Example - City X cannot attach a 5% excise tax onto your cable modem service in order to pay for sewer repairs.

do you read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468733)

has passed a passed a

Re:do you read? (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 3 months ago | (#47469687)

Why you no like-a the pasta pasta?

November? (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 3 months ago | (#47468775)

Without reading the details.. I doubt this will pass, if its democrat sponsered, the repubs will shut it down in the house. If it's GOP approved, the senate will kill it. Gotta love our divided country!

Re:November? (2)

gunner_von_diamond (3461783) | about 3 months ago | (#47468805)

Without reading the details.. I doubt this will pass, if its democrat sponsered, the repubs will shut it down in the house. If it's GOP approved, the senate will kill it. Gotta love our divided country!

Seperation of power results in loss of power for all!

Re:November? (4, Insightful)

Dins (2538550) | about 3 months ago | (#47468971)

Seperation of power results in loss of power for all!

As it should be. We need fewer laws, not more of them.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469151)

And when ISPs/media companies start locking customers out of competitor websites, thankfully we'll have fewer laws!

Re:November? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 3 months ago | (#47469165)

Congress misuses the Interstaye Commerce Clause in many Rube Goldbergian arguments to extend their power, but this is a legitimate, direct use of it for its real intention: stopping states from throwing up roadblocks to interstate commerce.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469327)

Refactoring the legal code is an extremely expensive process, and the downstream impact tends to have a lot of surprising negative consequences.

So, much like longstanding code products, the legal code is full of hacks, dead code, and technical debt. And probably always will be.

Re:November? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469713)

We need fewer laws, not more of them.

If you want to use proper English, you should write "less laws." The term fewer should only be used with nouns that are countable.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470775)

Whoever modded you at -1 needs to stand under the WHOOSH plane for the next 30 years.

Re:November? (1)

Major Blud (789630) | about 3 months ago | (#47468807)

Both the article and the summary state that it's already passed the House.

I'm curious, do any other countries tax Internet usage? I know the French proposed doing it to pay for their state-owned public television stations but I'm not sure how far that went.

Re:November? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 months ago | (#47469053)

There is VAT (sales tax) on telecommunication services in every country in the EU, ranging from 15% in Luxembourg to 27% in Hungary. The average rate is around 20%.

Re:November? (1)

Major Blud (789630) | about 3 months ago | (#47469347)

Interesting, thanks for the info. So is this a tax on service fees or products purchased over the Internet (or are there separate taxes for both)?

Is this tax earmarked for a particular item, or added to the country's general fund? Sorry I realize you may not know the answers to these questions.

Re:November? (1)

jonbryce (703250) | about 3 months ago | (#47469517)

The tax I was referring to is on the service fees. Sales tax on products purchased online is at the same rate as for products purchased offline. Of the sales tax, 0.33% goes to EU funds and the rest goes to the country's own general funds.

Re:November? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468819)

"if its democrat sponsered, the repubs will shut it down in the house"

"Now the U.S. House has passed a passed a permanent version of the ban, which also applies to several states that had passed Internet taxes before 1998 and were grandfathered in under the temporary law. The Senate must pass the bill as well by November 1 or the temporary ban will lapse."

I mean, it's right in the summary man.

Re:November? (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 3 months ago | (#47468827)

Tax cuts, no matter how silly, pretty much always seem to pass.

I'm going to go ahead and make the controversial decision to announce my opposition to this one. Pretty much all infrastructure is taxed, why should the Internet be different?

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468859)

Because the price that ISPs charge is already insanely fucking expensive to begin with. I have a few ISPs that offer service in my area: Comcast, Comcast, and Comcast. I pay a lot of money already, and fuck anyone who wants to jack the price up even more. Fix the monopoly situation and then we'll talk.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470295)

That is what you get living in a shitty area. If you think Comcast is the only game in town, you deserve to be fleeced you dumb fuck.

I currently pay $25 for 40MB/5MB, last year I was paying $15 for 20MB/1MB.

Re:November? (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 3 months ago | (#47468891)

because a concept should not be taxed, the infrastructure IS taxed, meaning the servers and cables and the like. This is about taxing access to the internet. do you think you should have to pay a nickle everytime you log in to the government??? I dont

Re:November? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 3 months ago | (#47469101)

do you think you should have to pay a nickle everytime you log in to the government???

Gee, I wish I had a login for the government...

Re:November? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 3 months ago | (#47469961)

It's also about internet-only services.

Texas has such a tax, for example. When my wife and I played World of Warcraft, we had to pay the monthly (or quarterly, whatever) subscription charge and a tax on the service. People in most other states don't have to, because Texas has had its take on internet-only services like that from before 1998.

Before WoW, my wife and I played EverQuest, except she started her account when we still lived in Tennessee. Even after we moved to Texas, her account was never subjected to the Texas tax, even though mine was and both accounts were (now) on the same address and credit card. Oops, I guess EA's system to collect taxes was flawed. It wasn't until about when we cancelled that I finally realized this was why we were being charged different amounts.

Re:November? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#47469043)

Pretty much all infrastructure is taxed, why should the Internet be different?

Other infrastructure, such as bridges and sewers, are taxed because THE GOVERNMENT BUILT THEM. So they are taxed to pay off the bonds that financed their construction, and to pay for ongoing maintenance. The Internet runs on fibers, cables, and routers financed by private companies. It is a different situation.

Re:November? (1, Interesting)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 3 months ago | (#47469209)

No, railroads, phone lines, and electric wires are not (usually) in the US built by the government. Try again.

Re:November? (1)

ichthus (72442) | about 3 months ago | (#47469737)

I don't think he mentioned railroads, phone lines or electric wires in his post.

Try again.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469965)

I don't think he mentioned railroads, phone lines or electric wires in his post.

Try again.

Plus the build out of all those things were government funded/subsidized or eminent-domained away. He's right that the "government" doesn't build anything. Neither does a "corporation" - neither has a body to build with. They pay others to do so for them.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469239)

And who built the government? Your fucking taxes did. Taxed to pay off the bonds that were pulled from public funds. Lovely.

Re:November? (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 3 months ago | (#47469921)

You can be sure that it wasn't Democrat-sponsored and opposed by (at least a few) Republicans. Otherwise that would be in the summary.

From the article: "The House, in a voice vote Tuesday, passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, over the objections of some Democrats."

Re:November? (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 3 months ago | (#47470523)

It was sponsored by over 200 people on both sides. It passed by a "voice vote" which means they didn't track exactly who voted for it or against it, but it was overwhelmingly positive. I gather that a few Democrats voted against it, mostly on the grounds that some states tax it and need it as a revenue source (it's a Republican thing to believe that collecting less taxes somehow magically decreases deficits rather than increasing them), but mostly, it's hard to vote against a tax cut in an election year.

Because of that there's a good chance that it will flounder and die in the Senate. The House is 100% up in November, but the Senators are a bit more responsible about forbidding states from raising revenues, and the Senators from Texas (which lose their exemption under the current moratorium) may ask Reid to spike it.

So arguably, this is more about ending the moratorium than extending it: by voting up a permanent ban they've diminished the chances of extending the temporary one. I don't know all of the inside-baseball on this one and there's more that I'm not seeing, so I can't give a confident prediction.

Re:November? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470837)

it's a Republican thing to believe that collecting less taxes somehow magically decreases deficits rather than increasing them

I think the correct phrase is that "decreasing the marginal tax rates increases overall tax receipts", which has been demonstrated to be correct many times previously, and has apparently been wildly successful in countries with low, flat-tax rates. Part of this stems from more people filing and paying taxes - because more people can now afford to - and part of the flat-tax success comes from more people filing and paying due to the extreme simplification of the tax code.

Note that I'm not advocating a flat tax, but a significantly simplified tax system and lower marginal rates across the board would probably boost tax receipts significantly, even in the US.

There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (0)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47468887)

This is a law. Like all laws, it is automatically superseded by any later laws passed.

This "permanent" ban is valid only until Congress passes a law allowing (or mandating) a tax on internet access, and is automatically voided by such a law.

In other words, this is a waste of time, and it doesn't matter in the slightest if this dies in the Senate, is vetoed by the President, or just burned in effigy....

Re:There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468955)

This is the "until a later congress decides otherwise" extension of a law that was passed in 1998 with a "only so long as congress re-affirms it every ~4 years" clause. The only part of it that was heavily debated in the house was some democrats arguing that it should be a campaign issue every couple years and some other democrats arguing that their constituents are sick of seeing it come up every 4 years and want it permanent. Republicans argued about what it meant in regards to states' authority to tax in their own jurisdictions, then decided that it was constitutional enough since it had been uncontested law for 16 years.

Re:There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469051)

It is permanant in the sense that it doesn't expire. It can as you say be repealed. The advantage is that congress doesn't have to agree to anything for this to continue on, repeal would require another agreement after the one to pass it originally.

Re:There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (2)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 3 months ago | (#47469085)

I thought the exact same thing, but the summary seems to say that it does change one thing: states that currently have taxes on Internet service are no longer allowed to have them. The word "permanent" is a bit weird, but apparently it only means "does not require annual renewal".

Re:There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470011)

"Indefinite" would be a much more appropriate term.

Re:There's no such thing as a "permanent ban" (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 3 months ago | (#47469143)

Except that this one law from Congress makes sure that 10,000 municipalities cannot enact a tax on internet service.

So it is not a waste of time.

passed a passed a (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47468995)

dot beta slash

Bundled Fees? (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 3 months ago | (#47469059)

Franchise Fee $4.91, FCC Fee $0.09, Total fees $5.00 per month. For TV and Internet.

Re:Bundled Fees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469507)

that's all for the cable television portion of the bill. an internet only account may also have a (smaller) 'franchise fee' however, depending upon the agreement between your cable company and the local franchise authority (typically your municipality, township or county).

this may be good news for wisconsin, texas, and other states that have had sales tax on internet access going back to the 90s.. although, i expect them to find some way to fuck over its residents and continue collecting sales tax on internet access even if this 'ban' takes effect... because, well, that's the way government works. ain't this farcemocracy grand?

a bit of legislative history (2, Interesting)

nimbius (983462) | about 3 months ago | (#47469115)

in 1998 there was a sizeable movement to declare internet access a 'basic human right' and as such, make it an entitlement. Since republicans and conservatives alike respond to the word Entitlement in much the same way as a microwave responds to a sack of paper clips, its safe to say this legislation was enacted to ensure your internet remains permanently comcastic. so how did this come to pass?
the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), following a proposal by the government of Tunisia during ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis in 1998, approved Resolution 73 to hold a World Summit on the Information Society and put forward it to the United Nations. It cant be stressed enough that 1998 was clearly a better year for congress as is evidenced by the fact that legislators got wind of the WSIS and its strong position on internet as a basic human right. Much like affirming things like the kyoto protocol and the basic human right to water, the internet was sandbagged in america to ensure it would never amount to something as horrifying as a free service. amending it recently simply extended its reach to local governments. It did now however close a loophole being exploited by local municipalities in which the 'tax' for their paid services like WiMAX and municipal broadband was bundled under things like vehicle registration fees (something used by local governments that need to fund schools but have politicians who promise no new taxes.)

by shitting on the idea of a tax for internet service, congressional republicans have created a two-tier system in america in much the same way as education and housing exist. underprivileged or poor students and families seeking internet access are now relegated back to the library, and those libraries in turn forced to shovel federal dollars into the gaping maw of AT&T and Verizon for something that, yes, is increasingly more of a basic human right in the 21st century.

Re:a bit of legislative history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469289)

"in 1998 there was a sizeable movement to declare internet access a 'basic human right' and as such, make it an entitlement. "

And why should it be an entitlement? Want to provide it to the world? Pay for it. Lay the infrastructure, provide the means, and then you go ahead and do so. Hell, you can put together a private consortium to do so, and probably get funding from private charities, etc. Start a kickstarter campaign. Just stop using my tax dollars for the so-called social good.

Just because YOU think something is a *right*, does not make it so.

Re:a bit of legislative history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469995)

Just because YOU think something is a *right*, does not make it so.

And just because YOU think something isn't a *right*, does not make it so.

Re:a bit of legislative history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470351)

I don't think dumbasses like you have a right to breathe oxygen.

Re:a bit of legislative history (4, Insightful)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 3 months ago | (#47469511)

As was previously pointed out, there is nothing in this bill to prevent PAYING FOR Internet services out of tax revenues, only that services can't be arbitrarily made more expensive by local governments, states, and the Federal government itself. There's also nothing preventing municipalities from building networks and Internet services - and they can charge for that service just like anyone else. They just can't charge a service fee AND a tax.

So your rant is based on a false premise.

To use your phrasing, it says we don't want governments shitting on the idea of having Internet access without paying a tax for the privilege.

Re:a bit of legislative history (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 3 months ago | (#47470441)

I think they still can - the ban is on tax if they introduce a fee this is allowed then. Problem solved.

Re:a bit of legislative history (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 months ago | (#47470621)

How exactly is someone who has trouble getting enough to eat going to pay the expense required to exercise this "right" you claim that they have? You do not have the right to require someone else to provide you with something.

Re:a bit of legislative history (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470623)

in 1998 there was a sizeable movement to declare internet access a 'basic human right' and as such, make it an entitlement.

Weird.

Water, food and shelter aren't 'basic human rights', but internet access should be.

Go figure.

so (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 3 months ago | (#47469187)

why am I charged sales tax on the streaming part of my netflix account?

Re:so (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469717)

netflix is not internet access.

Re:so (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 3 months ago | (#47470333)

well TFS did mention Internet only services

Oh, noes? It's a "must-pass" bill??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469357)

"The Senate must pass the bill as well by November 1 or the temporary ban will lapse." *or*, work out some other arrangement like a 2 year extension. Or didn't the writer pass what used to be Junior-High level civics?

Most importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469583)

What else, exactly, is attached to this bill that got it to pass? I smell a backdoor attempt on this thing.

Yeah House! (2)

njhunter (613589) | about 3 months ago | (#47469719)

Hopefully the Senate will follow right away and they won't try to kill it with stupid politics.

Re:Yeah House! (1)

Kariles70 (3750637) | about 3 months ago | (#47470509)

If it is not about furthering their power and influence they usually are not interested.

Re:Yeah House! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47470709)

Why? Do you have a clue how disastrous this will be?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47469981)

The Senate would not pass up the oportunity to steal more money from us.

If it does pass, then everybody needs to look at the small print, because it will do something else we don't accept.

U.S. DEMOCRATIC LEAD SENATE VETOES (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47470397)

Too bad the DEMOCRATIC lead senate had more nays than yays.
More democrats supporting anti-internet movements. Sigh.

The Pubs (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47470703)

continue driving the country towards become a cesspool of ignorance.
Anything to stop funding of key programs.
I think this show they are attacking any non rich person in the country, and we shouldn't stand for it. It's class warfare, and the rich are winning.

Tax the same and allow cities to build networks. (1)

techdolphin (1263510) | about 3 months ago | (#47470939)

Municipalities should be allowed to build their own networks. I guess the ISPs are afraid of their competition.

The Internet does not deserve any special tax privileges. If my phone service can be taxed, so could my Internet service. Goods brought on the Internet should also be subject to the same sales taxes as goods bought locally, because, otherwise, Internet stores have an advantage.

That being said, I hate sales taxes because they are so regressive. I also despise that income is taxed differently. Wages should not be taxed more or less than other income. For example, the carried interest classification is unfair and horrible. Personally, I would like to get rid of sales taxes and most other taxes and fund most things with progressive income taxes.

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