Hawaii Internet access tax will end under bill expected to pass Congress | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Hawaii Internet access tax will end under bill expected to pass Congress

WASHINGTON » House and Senate negotiators announced today that they reached agreement on bipartisan legislation to make permanent a moratorium that prevents states from taxing access to the Internet.

(The bill would end an Internet access charge that Hawaii consumers now pay.)

The moratorium was first enacted in 1998. State and local governments that already had Internet taxes were allowed to keep them under the current moratorium, but under the new agreement, jurisdictions with Internet taxes would be required to phase them out by mid-2020.

Jurisdictions in seven states — Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin — tax access to the Internet, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Together they would lose “several hundred million dollars annually” if they were no longer allowed to collect the taxes.

(The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which opposes the measure, estimates that Hawaii’s state government would lose about $20 million in tax revenue, based on 2012 figures, when the tax is phased out.)

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the measure means that small businesses and individuals will “finally be free from the threat of hundreds of dollars in new taxes each year, just to access the Internet.”

The Internet tax moratorium was attached to a separate measure modernizing the U.S. customs system.

That measure attracted controversy earlier this year when the Senate voted to give the government more power to retaliate against countries, like China, that manipulate the value of their currency to make their exports more attractive. The Obama administration opposed the currency provision even though it was authored by a key ally, New York Democrat Charles Schumer.

More broadly, the customs measure is aimed at beefing up enforcement against trade cheats and facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade.

“This bill will make it easier for Americans to compete and win in marketplaces around the world,” said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas. “Strong enforcement provisions will also level the playing field and help ensure that other countries follow the same rules.”

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  • Mine you that the HI5 beverage container fee, and the proposed moped safety fee are just a ploy by the Hawaii’s elected ones to collect more taxes for their pet projects. The HI5 fee has nothing to do with the environment. The moped fee has nothing to do with curbing the exhaust noise.

  • It’ll be a moot issue when Trump shuts down the internet. Here’s what the American Mussolini said in a speech on Monday, 12/16: ” “We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”

    • Bsdetection, I detect BS in your comment. Trump did not say he wanted to “shut down” the Internet. What he said was that the US should consider “closing up” the internet in certain areas to stop the spread of terror. You overlooked or intentionally fail to mention the key phrase “in certain areas.” His intent clearly is to find a way to deny terrorists or suspected terrorists access to the Internet to promote their agendas, radicalize and recruit more people and kill Americans.

        • Although North Korea has done it and Egypt did it during the Arab Spring, what Trump proposes would be a gross violation of the Constitution, as well as being technically impossible. What do you think “closing that internet up in certain areas” means if it doesn’t mean shutting down the internet? Some areas can just do without freedom of speech? 770,000 Muslims live in New York City; is that a certain area where you think the internet should be “closed up”? Has there ever been a candidate who has accused people who say “freedom of speech” of being foolish people? This is blatant fascism. Trump has, until now, seemed to be a combination of the worst qualities of George Wallace, Sen Joseph McCarthy, Don Rickles and Father Coughlin; now you can add Mussolini to the mix.

  • Watch the spin the State does on this Bill that will affect their “revenue”…it’s not revenue…let’s leave that to the business world…it’s a tax.

    Hence, when there is discussion on Hawaii having the highest taxes, it’s not just personal income tax…it’s consumable tax that’s applied via our G.E. tax and the taxes that are hidden when you check your cell phone, your electric bill, gas, etc.

    Next they’ll tax your methane gas discharge…

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