Internet Tax Debated

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Supporters of the measure cleared a procedural hurdle so the Senate could formally begin dealing with the issue of taxing Internet access, but it faces many hurdles.

The bill would prevent state and local governments from taxing online access services well as broadband services.

While the bill would make permanent the ban, which expired in November, there are numerous alternatives being contemplated.

One compromise would extend the ban on taxes for four years, another for just two years.

Supporters of the latter proposal say they oppose a permanent ban because it would hurt state and local government's ability to tax existing telecommunications services.

Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the issue for months. Earlier, President Bush urged Congress to permanently ban taxes on Internet services, particularly high-speed broadband connections.