osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

Factchecker Gives Claim of New Internet Taxes 3 out of 4 Pinnochios

And moring gets underway with authors of study claiming $15 bn in new taxes and fees if the FCC reclassifies as Title II (now reduced to $11 bn after extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA)) that a rating of 3 out of 4 Pinocchios by the Washington Post FactChecker is a total vindication.

Basically, the Factchecker found that while reclassification would likely lead to some customers somewhere seeing new fees of some kind, anything more specific is impossible to quantify based on the vagaries of state tax laws, whether Congress continues to extend ITFA (or makes it permanent), whether the FCC preempts the charges because it is a mixed jurisdicitonal service (which I think is their way of dealing with the rather complicated USF question), and many other factors. The authors claim vindication because they noted that their projection was a "worst case" scenario.

Curiously, I'm OK with that because this is Washington. But the flip side is also true. Free Press is totally vindicated in their argument that subscribers will not see "one penny more" from reclassification because that is the best case scenario. And, frankly, IMO, Free Press is a lot more likely to be accurate as well as vindicated.

I also stand by my statement that there will be no "sticker shock." Whatever we ultimately decide to do about tax policy and USF, it won't happen the day after reclasification and we would have had to have this debate and make these decisions regardless.

As I told one of the authors who was annoyed at Free Press "attacking" him as a total liar, "if you put on gloves and step into the boxing ring, don't be all mad when the other guy with gloves hits you back."


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