Hilson and Brooks Lead Efforts to Make Electronic Commerce Fair

By Shafroth, Frank | Nation's Cities Weekly, April 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

Hilson and Brooks Lead Efforts to Make Electronic Commerce Fair


Shafroth, Frank, Nation's Cities Weekly


"This is like trying to stuff a whole new system into an old, broken down one that no longer works," Joe Brooks, councilmember from Richmond, Va., and chair of NLC's Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations (FAIR) Committee commented. "We need a new revenue system to ensure fairness and services in this new digital economy, instead of trying to fix the old one."

Brooks was referring to a consensus by the 64-member National Tax Association (NTA) project on electronic commerce and telecommunications that they would not be able to reach agreement on a final report with recommendations on how to simplify and apply state and local taxes on electronic commerce and telecommunications. Brooks and his colleague, Joe Hilson, councilmember from Hayward, California, represent NLC.

Instead, city, state, and business leaders in the joint project overwhelmingly approved a motion to draft a final report that would summarize areas of agreement and disagreement, after consensus on a much larger package appeared doomed to fall short of the 75 percent approval required under the project's by-laws.

The project is the first--and currently only--meaningful effort to try and reach agreement about how to apply state and local sales and other taxes to the rapidly exploding world of electronic commerce and the rapidly converging world of telecommunications and information technology. Under current Supreme Court rulings, electronic sales are taxable by state and local governments, but states may not require out of state or remote sellers to collect and remit the sales taxes to cities and states.

The resolution of what rules to apply matter not only to cities and towns in the United States, but to leaders in other countries around the world. "Your work here is under intense scrutiny around the globe," Treasury representative Joe Guttentag told the project members. "They want to know: how do we collect taxes on digitalized products, Internet sales? The United States will be the only nation in the OECD nations without a consumption or form of a national sales tax."

Thus, leaders from virtually every other industrialized country have the same stakes and concerns as municipal leaders in the U.S.--how to prevent erosion of a critical revenue base and discrimination against their own constituents. Consequently, Guttentag made clear that any solution reached in the U.S. would almost surely set a precedent for Europe, Canada, Australia, and the nation's other most critical trade partners.

The Internet Tax Commission

The NTA project's agreement became more important as efforts to fix the Congressionally appointed Internet Tax Commission continued to flounder. That commission, created under the Internet Tax Freedom Act passed last October, was supposed to hold its first meeting last December. It was to send its final report and recommendations on state and local taxation of electronic commerce and telecommunications to the President and Congress in June of 2000.

But in a sign of how significant the stakes are to some of the wealthiest corporations in the world, Congress selected 12 appointees proposed by the electronic commerce industry, including a registered lobbyist for Microsoft as the consumer representative. Congressional leaders selected only three from appointees nominated by states and local governments. The law required eight representatives from business and consumer representatives, including at least one representative of Main Street retailers and eight representatives of state and local governments.

While the White House and almost all key leaders in Congress have conceded that the current commission is inconsistent with the law, there has been no concerted leadership to fix it or to replace it with one that is as fair and balanced.

The NTA has been examining an expanded duty of out-of-state or electronic sellers to collect a uniform state and local sales and use tax, under a simplified and uniform state and local sales tax system not based on a physical presence requirement and alternatives for a bright line threshold for business activity tax nexus. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Hilson and Brooks Lead Efforts to Make Electronic Commerce Fair
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.