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Letter to the Senate on the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644)

December 10, 2015

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the National Education Association and the students we serve, I urge you to oppose the conference report on the customs bill, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644), which now includes the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). Votes associated with this issue may be included in the NEA Legislative Report Card for the 114th Congress.

The extraneous PITFA language—which was added in conference and violates congressional requirements on unfunded mandates—would make permanent the current moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access. States and localities need flexibility to tax Internet transactions for much needed revenue, especially for investments in education and other essential public services.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that PITFA would cost states and localities “several hundreds of millions of dollars annually,” noting that the actual cost could be much higher since the estimate was based on revenue lost by just four of the seven states that now tax Internet access. Moreover, CBO’s calculation did not include potential future revenues from new taxes that might be enacted if a federal ban were not in place.

Since it includes PITFA, I urge you to oppose the conference report on the customs bill, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 644).

Sincerely,

Mary Kusler

Director of Government Relations