Mike Huckabee on Technology
Republican AR Governor
A: The problem I have is that taxpayers will spend their $150 billion in rebates to buy imports from China. So whose economy is being stimulated? What I suggested was, we have a nation whose infrastructure is crumbling. Our roads, bridges, airports clogged up. Texas A&M did a study, found that the average American in an urban setting loses 38 hours a year--that’s a full work week--stuck in traffic because of clogged traffic patterns. Now, $150 billion would expand the interstate by two lanes, I-95, from Bangor, Maine, to Miami. There are places all over America where our infrastructure is choked. Every billion dollars we spend on infrastructure creates 47,500 jobs. And we do it with American labor, American cement, American steel. That’s why I’m saying that that’s a real long-term stimulus package. But it does more than just stimulate the economy, it actually stimulates jobs for Americans for a change.
And the reason I say that is because when we were going through a recession in my state, we were in the middle of a billion-dollar highway construction program that brought about 40,000 jobs and brought a billion dollars of capital into the economy. That’s a long- term stimulus package that I think would have more impact on the American long-term future. And it would keep social capital from being wasted, fuel wasted. A lot of people sit around in traffic every day, and we’ve done nothing about it.
A: He made claims about things like tax increases, but he failed to mention that they were voted on by the people & approved by the people for roads. And I left my roads in great shape, took them from the worst in the country to what Truckers Magazine said were the most improved. He left his roads in a mess, with huge problems in the infrastructure. He claimed that he didn’t raise taxes, but, in fact, he did raise taxes by half a billion dollars.
Q: As fees.
A: Yes, fees. It’s a tax. If you’re a small business person and you pay more money than you paid last year to the government, you can call it a fee, call it a tax, it’s a three letter word that means the same.
Q: But you raised taxes.
A: Well, [we used revenue to] build highways that give you economic incentives and capacities that, frankly, created the lowest unemployment numbers that our state had over had over a sustained period of time. We saw more new jobs created.
We went from a road system that was deemed the worst in the country, by Truckers Magazine, to the most improved. I changed the way to get a driver’s license so that, instead of it taking seven hours, all day, it took four minutes on the Internet.
Brown University said we had done more in technology to make our state accessible online and to do more electronic services than any other state in the country.
So what we did, we modernized Arkansas. We rebuilt its education system. The things that were done were done to make government functional. People don’t hate government. They just want it to work. And that’s what we did in my state, and that’s what I would do as president.
A: Well, as president, that would be one of the first things I’d like to do, since I’ve spent most of my year on an airline this entire time. First of all, we’ve got to have the kind of technology on the ground that we have in the cockpit. We’ve got Jetsons-level technology that’s running the cockpit; we have the Flintstones technology on the ground that’s controlling the airplanes. And it’s ridiculous. And the second thing, we’ve got an incredibly archaic method of the controls where you have incredible traffic coming in to key hubs. I don’t want to re-regulate the industry, but the industry’s going to have to start either getting in the program--and one thing they’ve got to stop doing is holding the passengers hostage on airplanes for hours and hours without any way of being able to get off those planes. And part of it, I think, is let’s make sure that the consumer gets a voice in what happens. And it’s got to be a priority.
A: It’s not necessary that we raise a tax. We’re spending billions of dollars all around the world, but it may be time that we start spending some of those billions of dollars to deal with our own infrastructure. And it’s our bridges, our interstates, our sewer and water treatment systems. They’re crumbling. They’re old. And we have to start addressing building this country, not everybody else’s.
One is not to be afraid. Whether you like it or not, the media provide the vehicle through which whatever you do or say is delivered to people. I had to accept the reality that Arkansans’ perceptions of me and what I was doing came through the media.
Second, you must diversify your contacts with various types of media. Neither have one reporters or paper be your only contact. Do not become dependent on one medium. All are important. Now there are new technologies like the Internet.
If the medium for moving public policy is TV, then understand that TV is the field of play & learn to run on it. It does not mean you have to give up your intellect; it means you have to be able to demonstrate that intellect in the medium the public has chosen. If you cannot do that, you probably are not going to be successful in politics today.
Q: Should Arkansas institute a state lottery?
Q: Do you support eliminating the sales tax on food?
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.
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