Jesse Ventura on Technology

Former Independent MN Governor

Competitive telecomm services to bridge Digital Divide

I want to make sure that you are not left on the wrong side of the “digital divide.” I consider myself an entrepreneur and I hope that the entire state will get the entrepreneurial spirit. But for many the opportunity to be successful will depend on a level playing field for access to new technologies. Everyone in Minnesota and in this country should have equal access to high speed Internet service. Everyone in Minnesota and in this country should not only have access to basic telephone service, but access at a fair and affordable price. These things can only happen if the states provide for competition among telecommunication service providers -- and that is exactly what my plan does.

Based on what is going on in our world today it is absolutely imperative that--

No one, No matter where they live,
--Be left without access to these new technologies.
Source: Speech to FCC/Indian Telecommunications Training Initiative Sep 25, 2000

Leave Internet sales tax to states

When I was at the annual governors’ conference, we discussed the question of whether or not states should be taxing Internet sales and access. Any time somebody’s making money, the federal government is sure to stand up and take notice. I don’t believe this issue is any of the federal government’s business. The federal government doesn’t have the right to tell states whether or not to tax something. It should be left to the individual states to decide if they want to tax Internet purchases.

I understand the concern that many governors expressed, that stores are losing important sales tax revenue to Internet sales. But I suspect that a tax on Internet purchases would put a severe damper on an industry that’s still getting its feet wet.

Source: Do I Stand Alone, by Jesse Ventura, p.218 Jul 2, 2000

Government may facilitate the Internet, but not control it

Q: What role should state government play in the Internet?

A: If government is involved with the Internet at all, it should facilitate but not control it. It’s OK for government to help wire the State for Internet use. The more people that get connected, the better. It’s not OK for government to try to control the content of what goes over the wires. In schools and libraries where children can access the Internet, use filtering programs to limit access to adult content. At home, parents are responsible for their children’s use of the computer...not the government, and not Internet service providers operating under government-imposed mandates. Except for helping more people get on line, government should have as little to do with the Internet as possible.

As Governor, I will veto any new proposed tax.on the Internet. The Internet is a good thing. Let it grow with some government help and with no government interference.

Source: E-Democracy Debate Feb 10, 1998

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

Ventura 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

Other candidates on Technology: Jesse Ventura on other issues:
MN Gubernatorial:
Tim Pawlenty
MN Senatorial:
Al Franken
Amy Klobuchar
Dean Barkley
James Niemackl
Michael Cavlan
Norm Coleman

2008 Senate retirements:

Wayne Allard(R,CO)
Larry Craig(R,ID)
Pete Domenici(R,NM)
Chuck Hagel(R,NE)
Trent Lott(R,MS)
Craig Thomas(R,WY)
John Warner(R,VA)

Incoming Obama Administration:

Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:Hillary Clinton
HHS:Tom Daschle
Staff:Rahm Emanuel
DHS:Janet Napolitano
DOC:Bill Richardson
DoD:Robert Gates
A.G.:Eric Holder
Treas.:Tim Geithner
Winners of 2008 Senate Races:
( * if new to the Senate)
AK:*Begich over Stevens
DE:Biden and Kaufman
GA:Chambliss v.Martin (Dec. 2 runoff)
MN:Coleman v.Franken (recounting as of Dec.1)
NC:*Hagan over Dole
NH:*Shaheen over Sununu
OR:*Merkley over Smith
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Page last updated: Dec 02, 2008