Google Says No To Net Taxes
The current Internet tax moratorium placed by Congress expires in November, leading Google to join a coalition of firms asking for that policy to become permanent.
|Google Says No To Net Taxes|
Siding against additional taxes is an easy position to take in most discussions. One will find very few people in favor of giving Washington more money to spend on an unpopular war or pork projects like bridges to sparsely populated Alaskan islands.
Google has thrown in with the supporters of Don’t Tax Our Web, a group that opposes duplicative, discriminatory, and hidden taxes. Net companies like Amazon.com, Yahoo, and eBay are also involved.
Google policy counsel Pablo Chavez said on the company’s Public Policy blog that the current moratorium has helped “make the internet a universally accessible, free, and open platform capable of delivering a rich variety of services to consumers.”
Chavez also contended that an extension of the moratorium on Internet access taxes would help increase broadband penetration across the US. We don’t agree with that exact assessment, since we have seen a decade and $200 billion in tax breaks pass in the telecom industry without fulfilling the promise of true high-speed access to households.
We would argue that extending the moratorium should come with conditions to motivate investments in technology that will reach more people, including the rural population, with real broadband service. WiMAX and broadband over power lines could be two solutions.
States like Pennsylvania and others with laws on the books that ban municipalities from offering broadband and similar services, thanks to relentless cable and telco lobbying, need to strike those bans from their books. If tiny Glasgow, Kentucky can deliver inexpensive broadband on a municipal level, cities elsewhere should be allowed the same privilege.
Google’s stance on the moratorium only addresses part of the issue of increasing broadband access. If the public policy makers at Google really want to make a difference, they should be lobbying for more municipal efforts across the country along with their no-taxes position.