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Don Sundquist on Technology

Former Republican TN Governor


Wire government plus libraries and schools

We’ve taken government online and made it easier to access services and locate information. We were the first state to connect every public school and library to the Internet. The number of computers in our classrooms has gone from 6,000 to over 150,000 in just four years.
Source: State of the State Address to Tennessee legislature Jan 29, 2001

Level playing field for Main Street vs. Internet sales tax.

Sundquist adopted a letter to Congress from 44 Governors:

The nation’s governors have a strong and unified message to Congress: deal fairly with Main Street retailers, consumers, and local governments. In a letter sent to all members of Congress late Friday, 44 governors said:

If you care about a level playing field for Main Street retail businesses and local control of states, local governments, and schools, extend the moratorium on taxing Internet access ONLY with authorization for the states to streamline and simplify the existing sales tax system. To do otherwise perpetuates a fundamental inequity and ignores a growing problem.
The current moratorium on Internet access taxes, like those consumers pay to Internet service providers, and multiple and discriminatory taxes is scheduled to expire in October. The moratorium does not apply to sales taxes.

Currently, sales and use taxes are owed on all online transactions, but states are prohibited from requiring “remote sellers” to collect and remit those levies. A 1992 US Supreme Court decision said states can only require sellers that have a physical presence in the same state as the consumer to collect so-called use taxes. In instances when a seller does not have a physical presence, consumers are required to calculate and remit the taxes owed to their home states at the end of the year. The problem is most people are unaware that they’re supposed to pay, and states lack an effective enforcement mechanism. Online and catalog sellers, thereby, have a significant price advantage over Main Street businesses that must collect a sales tax on all transactions.

The loophole creates serious budget problems for schools, states, and local governments. A study estimated that states could lose as much as $14 billion by 2004 if they are unable to collect existing taxes on Web-based sales. Nearly half of state revenues come from sales taxes.

Source: NGA Press Release, "Level Playing Field" 01-NGA18 on Aug 20, 2001

Permanent R&D tax incentive & more R&D funding.

Sundquist signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:

  • Whereas, the federal government’s investment in research and development (R&D) has dropped from 70% of total, national R&D at the height of the “cold war” to merely 27% in 1999; and,
  • Whereas, federal R&D spending has dropped from 1.5% of the Gross National Product (GDP) in 1987 to only 0.6% today; and,
  • Whereas, industry-sponsored R&D has off-set this decline by merely growing from 1.5% of GDP in 1987 to 1.6% today; and,
  • Whereas, federal leadership in technology transfer is of critical importance to the development and commercialization of established intellectual property; and,
  • Whereas, broadband, high-speed Internet technology is an essential asset to support the New Economy and foster a climate to aid R&D efforts; and,
  • Whereas, the advancement of digital government can foster supportive services important to research and development including cataloging of labor, statistics and venture capital, and further, can enhance citizen access and coordination of government information and services; now, therefore, be it
  • Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on Federal R&D 01-SGA4 on Sep 9, 2001

    Other governors on Technology: Don Sundquist on other issues:
    AK Frank Murkowski
    AL Bob Riley
    AR Mike Huckabee
    AZ Janet Napolitano
    CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
    CO Bill Owens
    CT Jodi Rell
    DE Ruth Ann Minner
    FL Jeb Bush
    GA Sonny Perdue
    HI Linda Lingle
    IA Tom Vilsack
    ID Dirk Kempthorne
    IL Rod Blagojevich
    IN Mitch Daniels
    KS Kathleen Sebelius
    KY Ernie Fletcher
    LA Kathleen Blanco
    MA Mitt Romney
    MD Bob Ehrlich
    ME John Baldacci
    MI Jennifer Granholm
    MN Tim Pawlenty
    MO Matt Blunt
    MS Haley Barbour
    MT Brian Schweitzer
    NC Mike Easley
    ND John Hoeven
    NE Dave Heineman
    NH John Lynch
    NJ Jon Corzine
    NM Bill Richardson
    NV Kenny Guinn
    NY George Pataki
    OH Bob Taft
    OK Brad Henry
    OR Ted Kulongoski
    PA Ed Rendell
    RI Don Carcieri
    SC Mark Sanford
    SD Mike Rounds
    TN Phil Bredesen
    TX Rick Perry
    UT Jon Huntsman
    VA Tim Kaine
    VT Jim Douglas
    WA Christine Gregoire
    WI Jim Doyle
    WV Joe Manchin III
    WY Dave Freudenthal
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