Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez called on the Senate to pass a permanent moratorium on taxes for Internet access and electronic commerce.

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to mark up S.1453, the Internet Tax Freedom Extension Act of 2007, on Thursday. In a joint statement, the two cabinet members called on Congress to make permanent the current moratorium on Internet taxes, which is set to expire on Nov. 1.

"Preventing the taxation of Internet access will help sustain an environment for innovation, ensure that consumers continue to have affordable access to the Internet, especially high-speed Internet, and strengthen the foundations of electronic commerce as a vital and growing part of our economy," they said.

The ban on Internet taxes has been in effect since 1998 and was last renewed by Congress three years ago. Proponents argue that Internet access charges could spike as much as 17 percent if the moratorium goes away.

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