Monday, June 8, 2009

Internet Taxing for Bayou Bloggers?

Members of the Louisiana House voted 81-9 last week to impose a 15-cent monthly surcharge on Internet access over the objection of Gov. Bobby Jindal and possibly, in violation of federal law.

Sponsors of the bill characterize the estimated $2.4 million the measure would raise as a usage fee, but opponents brand the 15-cent assessment an Internet tax. The money would be used to fund a division in the state Attorney General's office to combat online criminal activity, with an eye toward sex crimes involving minors.

The La. Senate still must take up the bill, which if passed, would go into effect in 2010. The federal Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act (Pub. L. 108-435), which was signed into law in 2004 by President Bush, prohibited the imposition of Internet access taxes by states and localities through November 2007. Bush later signed the Internet Tax Freedom Act Amendment Acts of 2007 extending the prohibition through November 2014 (47 U.S.C. Sec. 151).

This is the latest, but dryest, controversy surrounding a New Orleans levy.

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