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President Bush Calls For Tax-Free Broadband

Campaigners for tax-free, broadband Internet connections picked up some important support Monday--President Bush, who is using a speech in Minnesota to urge Congress to impose a permanent ban on the taxing of broadband hookups.

Congress recently extended its previous ban on broadband taxation to two years to give it time to develop a long-range policy on Web taxes. The issue has been hotly debated, with a group of legislators, led by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), urging that states and municipalities be permitted to tax broadband. A former governor, Alexander, like other former state office holders in Congress, notes that the loss of broadband tax revenues is hurting states and municipalities.

Bush has expressed his support for broadband in the past. "The more affordable broadband technology is, the more innovative we can be with education," he said last month in a statement. "It's important that we stay on the cutting edge of technological change, and one way to do so is to have a bold plan for broadband."

Earlier this year, the President signed a two-year extension of the Internet Access Tax moratorium. The House has already passed a moratorium on permanent broadband taxes, while the Senate is scheduled to take up the issue this week.

Democratic Presidential challenger John Kerry has also supported an easing of taxation on broadband, calling for the issuance of a tax credit to telecommunications firms deploying broadband in rural and underserved parts of the country.