Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Final report on Internet tax commission meeting

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 19:11:09 -0500 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Final report on Internet tax commission meeting Send reply to:


[I am back in DC after a much-too-brief trip to SF to cover this meeting. Hmm. Why am I living on the east coast again? --DBM]


Choosing Names a Taxing Battle by Declan McCullagh

7:45 a.m. 16.Dec.1999 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- What's in a name? Or rather, what's in e-name?

For groups hoping to win the votes of a Congressional advisory commission, the answer seems to be -- confusion.

Proving that a catchy title is the _sine qua non_ of modern-day campaigning, pro-Internet tax and anti-tax groups picked e-fairness and e-freedom as cute but vague names for their coalitions.

But which is which? Besides, who can be against fairness? And what Samuel Adams-swilling American would ever criticize freedom?

It turns out that e-freedom is the conservative-libertarian axis. They're not fans of taxes on Internet or mail-order purchases. And they think that the e-fairness folks are poaching on their turf.

"The term e-fairness isn't accurate. It's not about fairness," complains Sonia Arrison of the Pacific Research Institute, which is part of the e-freedom coalition.

Arrison said that her side had their name first, and -- when pressed -- the e-fairness folks 'fessed up. Their coalition, a spokeswoman admitted, is just over a month old.


Internet Tax? Maybe, Maybe Not by Declan McCullagh

7:45 a.m. 16.Dec.1999 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- Take a peck of politicians, add a cayenne-hot topic like Internet taxes, season with presidential politicking, and agitate.

The result? A meeting that falls flatter than a building on landfill during a California earthquake.

Instead of voting on any of the topics surrounding Internet and telecommunications taxation, controversy-shy members of a Congressional advisory panel decided to dodge the issue.

The 19-member commission on Wednesday postponed all decisions until its next and final meeting in Dallas, Texas in March 2000.


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