In America, most of us have enjoyed the relatively unfettered growth of the Internet thanks in part to a tenuous bit of temporary legislation that has been extended a few times. The Internet Tax Freedom Act was made law in 1998 under President Clinton. It is now set to expire in November. Without this law in place, you are almost certainly going to be besieged by local, state, and federal taxing authorities all eager to get money from you just for daring to access the Internet. No, not on purchases of goods, or monies spent via Internet transactions... The vultures would like to collect on the basic flow of information itself.
Various methods of taxation are possible. These include the possibility of taxing based on the number of bits you transmit and receive, the speed of your Internet connection, or the number of emails you send. Considering the growth of "rich media" incorporating audio and video, which use a lot of bits and demand high access speeds, this is frightening. And of interest for readers of this blog in particular, such taxation could increase the costs of web conferencing, perhaps slowing its growth and acceptance in both consumer and business markets.
Congress has a vote upcoming on a new piece of legislation designed to replace the old temporary and extended ban with a permanent ban on Internet access taxes. It is Senate S. 156 and House H.R. 743, introduced by Ron Wyden (D - Oregon), John McCain (R - Arizona), and John Sununu (R - New Hampshire).
I urge you to contact your local representative with a quick (and free!) Internet email encouraging them to support the new legislation banning Internet-only taxes. You might point out that making the Internet more costly would harm your business (which pays plenty of taxes to local and federal authorities). You might also mention that you'd be far less inclined to look at their own political websites, videos, and emails if you knew it was costing you extra to do so.
An easy way to find your representative is to use Project Vote Smart. At the top left you can enter your zip code and get a list of all your representatives with links to their emails and websites. That's a non-affiliated website and it doesn't track you or ask you to sign in.
Act now. The money you save may be your own.