TCS Daily

DNC 2000 Notes

By TCS Daily - August 21, 2000 12:00 AM

Maryland Governor Wants End to Net Tax Moratorium

Cyber-shoppers in Maryland may soon be paying online sales taxes when they buy from out-of-state merchants -- if their Governor has anything to do with it. At the Democratic National Convention in L.A. this week, we caught up with Maryland Governor Parris Glendening (D) to ask him about this red-hot tech debate. The Gov said that he's still studying various tax proposals, but made clear that he wants an end to the current moratorium on net taxes, scheduled to expire next year. And he said that states need to be able to collect taxes when the merchants are outside their borders, lest e-commerce drain valuable funds from state budgets.

Jesse Jackson Says Americans Have Right to Net Access

In an interview this week with TCS contributor James Freeman, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said that Internet access is now the right of every American. Jackson went a step beyond the Democratic platform, which this year cites universal Net access as a goal but does not guarantee it as a fundamental right. According to the platform, "We must launch a new crusade - calling on the resources of government, employers, the high-tech industry, community organizations, and unions - to move toward full Internet access in every home, for every family, all across the United States."

What will this mean in specific policy terms? Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman, who administers programs to spread Net access in rural areas, told us that the specifics aren't clear, adding, "I don't think you could call it a civil right, but I think, like having a telephone, it's become a necessity, an economic, practical necessity...We are committed to provide Internet access to everybody."

Carville: Tech Issues Probably Won't Be A Factor, But You Never Know

TCS bumped into Clinton pit-bull James Carville on the concourse of L.A.'s Staples Center. Naturally, we wanted to ask the king of political strategists what, if any, tech issues would play a role in the fall campaign. Carville said that most tech issues aren't likely to be highly important this fall, but that Dems should pay close attention to them, because "a lot of them are kind of rumbling underneath the surface." Carville said that the online privacy issue will likely move to the forefront when it's triggered by a specific event "like someone hacking into the IRS database and stealing everyone's files."

Sen. Kerry Sees Compromise on Net Taxes

Will the Senate ever act on the 5-year extension of the Internet Tax Moratorium, passed by the House last spring? The bill has been waiting for Senate attention for several months, and one Democratic Senator now tells us that a deal looks possible. Senator John Kerry (D-MA), in an interview this week at the DNC Convention in Los Angeles, said that he and others are working on a compromise with Commerce Committee Chairman Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Kerry said that a four-year extension is likely, with an opportunity for states to simplify their tax systems and ultimately collect levies on out-of-state merchants. Kerry also said that the Dems would likely pass online privacy legislation in short order if they regain control of Congress.

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