Obama’s Plan to Tax the Internet

One of Washington’s well-known tricks is to set up unpopular legislation for lame duck passage. The continuing resolution (H.R. Res. 124) released on Tuesday night seems to set up another such violation of the will of the people.

While much of the attention surrounding the CR has rightly focused on the Export-Import Bank, the funding bill quietly tilts the scales on the debate over the internet sales tax. The CR contains just a 2-month extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), which prevents states and localities from imposing taxes on internet access (sometimes called “email taxes”). This places the expiration of ITFA right in the middle of a lame duck session.

ITFA has enjoyed widespread support since it was first enacted in 1998. In fact, the House recently passed a bill, H.R. 3086, making the moratorium permanent, by a simple voice vote. The companion bill is sponsored and championed in the Senate by none other than the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Ron Wyden3%Senate Democrat AverageSee Full Scorecard3%.

Despite this clear mandate for a permanent extension, pro-internet sales tax members of the Senate are holding a permanent solution hostage to try to jam through their unpopular tax on internet sales, ironically known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. Sensing that the time was not quite right to try their internet sales tax gambit in weeks before an important national election, the members engaged in a strategic retreat on the issue, calculating that their best chance of passing their plan would be with a short-term extension of ITFA that pushed the issue into the lame duck.

The CR that could be voted on as soon as Thursday plays right into the hands of the pro-internet sales tax crowd. Instead of demanding Senate action on the House’s permanent ITFA extension (and holding the hostage-takers accountable if Americans’ internet bills went up in October), the CR lets the pro-internet sales tax crowd off the hook, releases them from their political bind, and sets them up nicely for their ultimate goal.  All this despite the fact that their position is unpopular and would not win out in the court of public opinion.

And just how unpopular is the internet sales tax? Just 35% of Americans say they favor the idea. Two-thirds of self-identified Republicans and conservatives oppose the measure, and independents are not far behind, opposing by a 56%-37% margin. Even the majority of self-described Democrats oppose the internet sales tax.  And, far from being an uninformed opinion, the polls swing less favorably when respondents are given more specific descriptions of the internet sales tax legislation being promoted in Congress.

That the internet sales tax is unpopular is clear. It is also bad policy, effectively increasing Americans’ taxes and violating principles of federalism, government taxing power, tax competition, and regulation without representation. There is no excuse for Congress intentionally punting on the issue to a time when the American people’s ability to hold their representatives accountable is lowest.

The internet sales tax cannot withstand public scrutiny. It can only be pursued in a lame duck Congress. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what looks likely if the current CR is passed into law.

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Ex-Im: Use Twitter and Facebook to Spread the Word

Over the summer, conservatives ignited a national movement against the Export-Import Bank. This poster child for cronyism is now battling for its survival. But just as Americans across the country rose up to demand an end to Ex-Im, Congress, at the behest of the White House, is preparing to extend its expiring charter.

Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

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Ex-Im Bank: Just the Facts

Background: In 2012, legislation to reauthorize and increase Ex-Im’s lending authority by 40 percent, from $100 billion to $140 billion, passed in the House and Senate. With its charter set to expire at the end of September, a bipartisan coalition is advocating for another reauthorization. If it is not reauthorized, the bank will be unable to offer new loans, effectively grinding it to a halt and preventing it from distributing subsidies to new constituencies.

A two year fight is culminating in what should be the final standoff between true congressional conservatives and those members intent on pleasing special interests and the corporate welfare beneficiaries. It is more important than ever for concerned citizens to apply pressure to their representatives and see the mission through to the end. Stay armed with the facts of the case to End Ex-Im, and find out where your congressman stands!

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Email Congress to End Ex-Im

It is time to act. We have been engaged in the fight to end the Export-Import Bank all year. And now the fight has almost reached its pinnacle. Your action today could push it over the edge.

It’s less than two months—and only 10 legislative days—until the charter for the Ex-Im Bank expires. And you can help make sure it expires, and Ex-Im is ended, by emailing your Senators and Representative, simultaneously, now.

Take two minutes and email your Members of Congress against Ex-Im.

Our system will send your message directly to your Senators’ and Representative’s offices. With Congress in recess for August, your email will ensure that congressional staff spend their time explaining their boss’s position on Ex-Im. This is the perfect time to tell them that you want to end Ex-Im.

Your email to Congress will help chip away at the culture of cronyism in Washington.

Email Congress to End Ex-Im 
 

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Add This to Your Toolbox: A Free Voter Registration Tool to Help Your Activism

“If the people fail to vote, a government will be developed which is not their government…”

–Calvin Coolidge

At Heritage Action, we hold Congress accountable to conservative principles and we could not do that without your help. But what happens before Members get elected?

The American people need to make sure their voices are heard at the ballot box and that means showing up on Election Day. That’s why we have deployed a new voter registration tool for your independent use in your activism. Part of being a leader in your community may mean helping people register to vote.

Our tool is a convenient and secure way to get people registered. Here is how it works.

First go to http://heritageaction.com/register/ and enter the registrant’s basic information:

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 4.32.53 PMOur form, depending on your state, will send you to one of two sites:

HA_US_CITIES_2_14_LT1. If you are in one of the 17 dark blue states above, then our form will send you directly to the official state website to complete the registration.

2. If you are in one of the remaining light blue 33 states, then our form will direct you to an online form. Completing that form generates the National Mail Voter Registration Form (provided by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission). Once complete, you can print the National Mail Voter Registration Form, and then follow our instructions to mail it to your state official.

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It’s that simple. The information is secure and the printed form is not saved anywhere.

Check out the voter registration tool and learn more about how to use this to better your activism and get your community more politically involved.

See the Voter Registration Tool

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