In the past, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) has supported broadband accessibility for all citizens, regardless of income, but that seems to have recently changed.
Right before the holidays, Durbin blocked a bill that would prohibit states from taxing Internet subscriptions, which could make Internet access too expensive for many Americans at lower income levels. In Illinois, the combined wireless tax rate is 23.92 percent, which is the fourth highest in the United States. An additional Internet tax could create an even larger disproportionate burden for lower income households.
“While Sen. Durbin has made statements in support of broadband access in the past, his actions earlier this month to block the permanent banning of special taxes on that Internet access suggest that his priority is helping states gain new authority to tax remote sales over the Internet.” Jessica Melugin, adjunct fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), recently told Illinois Business Daily.
“Proponents of the latter (Marketplace Fairness Act and Remote Transaction Parity Act, which is very unpopular among voters) have been trying to tie the voting to the former (Internet Tax Freedom Act, which is very popular among voters) in order to get expanded state sales tax powers swept in on the coattails of making the Internet Tax Freedom Act permanent,” Melugin said.
“Sen. Durbin's block was just more of that same strategy,” Melugin said.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute is a nonprofit public policy organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise and individual liberty. Their mission is to promote both freedom and fairness by making good policy good politics. CEI pursues a full-service approach to advancing public policy.