WASHINGTON — Without holding a single hearing, the House overwhelmingly approved a five-year extension of the e-commerce tax moratorium, but Senate Republicans want to slow it down and scale it back. With politicians eager to please the booming Internet industry during an election year, the House rushed through legislation to extend the current moratorium until 2006. But some GOP senators are complaining that the measure doesn’t tackle vexing problems, such as how to level the playing field between online sellers and brick-and-mortar retailers, or how states and localities can collect applicable taxes on Internet sales. They would favor a shorter moratorium extension, but only after such problems are addressed, even if that means waiting until next year for a bill. “We don’t need to do this this year,” says GOP Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington, pointing out that the current moratorium doesn’t expire until October 2001. The House bill, which passed on a 352-75 vote, would prevent states from imposing any new taxes on Internet transactions, or charging new online-access fees, for five years. But many senators in both parties think a five-year moratorium extension is too long. President Clinton agrees, and has threatened to veto the measure. “I think… Read full this story
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