Indiana took another step toward becoming the first state to prohibit taxes on Internet access after a bill that would implement a permanent ban unanimously passed the House Ways and Means Committee.
Senate Bill 80 might be largely meaningless. The federal Tax Freedom Act has put a moratorium on access taxes since 1998 and has been renewed several times since, most recently in December. But the the law is set to expire again on Oct. 1 and it’s not clear whether Congress intends to extend the ban again.
Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, said he isn’t sure what will be done on the national level.
“What we’re doing here is making sure that whatever the federal government does or doesn’t do, here in Indiana we’re not going to tax Internet access,” Koch said.
The U.S. House approved a permanent ban last summer, but the proposal died in the Senate when a bipartisan group of lawmakers attempted to combine it with controversial language that would require retailers to collect sales taxes on online purchases.
Koch said the state needs to ban the taxes without waiting on the federal government.
“We never have taxed Internet access,” Koch said. “It is something that is, in this day and age, ubiquitous, and the Internet should be open. It’s not something government should tax.”
The bill moves to the full House for consideration.