Mar 14 - Senator Florez Blasts AOL E-mail Tax

California State Senator Dean Florez today joined a coalition of 'left wing, right wing, and no wing' non-profits and other organizations in opposing a plan by internet service provider AOL to tax e-mail senders in order to guarantee delivery of messages.

The coalition has posted an open letter to AOL at which calls on AOL to abandon the plan to implement the 'pay-to-send' program.

Senator Florez, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on E-Commerce, Wireless Technology and Consumer Driven Programming, announced his intent to conduct legislative hearings on the AOL proposal in April:

Non-profits and community organizations from across the political and social spectrum have united in their opposition to the AOL proposal.  Over the last decade, the internet has been a “great equalizer,” giving everyone from all walks of life access to information that otherwise would not have reached them.  Organizations which have used the internet to expand their reach and encourage individual activism believe AOL’s change will limit the reach of their message, effectively putting up a tollbooth on their path to free speech.

“It seems to me that AOL is setting a horrible precedent here,” Florez said.  “The whole ideal of net neutrality gets wiped away, and we are left with an internet of haves and haves not.”

Californians Against Waste was one of the first environmental organizations to sign the 'Dear AOL Letter' and oppose the 'pay to send' proposal.

"The growth of electronic mail has resulted in a substantial reduction in the generation and subsequent waste of paper and the pollution generated theirin. And while AOL has suggested that their motivation for the 'pay-to-send' proposal was to curb spam and 'junk-email', this is really a scheme by AOL to profit off of junk e-mail by charging bulk e-mailers for the right to bypass spam filters.

Over the last decade, AOL has demonstrated itself to be one of the most prolific and wasteful junk mailers in the history of the postal service, mailing out hundreds of millions of unrequested, unwanted, and mostly unused plastic disks and packaging. It is almost too ironic that AOL now attempts to set itself up as the consumer's 'protector' against junk e-mail."

Mark Murray, Executive Director

Californians Against Waste