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Taxes on Web connections banned

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Connections to the Internet would remain tax-free under a bill the House passed Wednesday.

The legislation, passed with bipartisan support, makes permanent a ban on taxing Internet connections. A temporary ban on the taxes, first enacted in 1998, runs out on Nov. 1.

New language clarifies that all types of Internet access — ranging from dial-up connections and high-speed DSL to cable modems — cannot be taxed.

“This bill would broaden access to the Internet, expand consumer choice, promote certainty and growth in the IT (information technology) sector of our economy and encourage the deployment of broadband services at lower prices,” said Rep. Chris Cannon, R-Utah.

Treasury Secretary John Snow and Commerce Secretary Don Evans said in a joint statement that the ban will “help create an environment for innovation and will help ensure that electronic commerce remains a vital and growing part of our economy.”

Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., described the original moratorium as “something of an experiment” and declared it a success. Keeping Internet access tax-free will give more people access, he said.

“It’s just a little bit too expensive for a lot of people,” Cox said. “A nick here, and a little bit of nickels and dimes here, would add up to a serious amount of taxation for most people.”