Tom Vilsack on Technology

Democratic IA Governor


Bio-based products reduce rural American unemployment

The US bio-based products industry last year had a $369 billion impact on our economy, helping to support nearly four million jobs throughout the United States. This is an industry that is also about energy production and fuel production, but much more than that. It's about chemicals. It's about plastics. It's about fabrics and textiles. It's about cleaning supplies and lubricants. It's about insulation materials and packing materials. It virtually touches every aspect of our economy.

This is an industry that has helped move the unemployment rate in rural America down from its high of over 10% to less than 6% for the first time in approximately ten years. It's also one of the reasons we're beginning to see a stability to the rural population, no longer declining, and a poverty rate reduction. So it's a significant aspect of the rural economy, and one that I think has tremendous opportunities to continue to grow.

Source: Obama Cabinet: Vilsack speech at National Press Club , Oct 3, 2016

Tech & infrastructure must create jobs & support families

We must also make investments in our infrastructure. The reality of today is that when you build, economies improve. And it is time for us to renew our commitment to a transportation system that works, a communication system that allows us to communicate all over the world. It’s time to put resources into infrastructure and to do it in a meaningful way. That will put people to work and it will create good paying jobs that will support families and communities.
Source: Annual 2006 Take Back America Conference , Jun 14, 2006

Address the nation’s aging infrastructure

The administration calls on Congress to immediately pass a six-year highway reauthorization bill with the significantly increased funding necessary to address the nation’s aging infrastructure and expanding capacity needs. It is also necessary to include in this bill the policy changes needed to promote greater use and production of ethanol. These measures will create good paying jobs and create business opportunities across Iowa.
Source: Press Release , Jan 23, 2004

Get all Iowa communities electronically connected by 2005

By the year 2010, Iowans should be electronically connected to each other and to the world, [to] move Iowa to the forefront in education, e-commerce, medicine, and e-government. I ask for your support for the development of an Advanced Telecommunications Alliance. This alliance would bring public and private sector leaders in telecommunications together in a formal structure to design an advanced telecommunications service plan for Iowa. At this inception, we should challenge this new Alliance to electronically link all Iowans with each other and with the world by 2005 - a full five years before the prediction of the Strategic Planning Council.

We should create a fund, a Digital Communities Account. Making resources available to communities through the account will accelerate the understanding of the importance and the potential of being connected. Such an understanding will create the demand for services to which the private sector will respond.

Source: Condition of the State speech to the Legislature , Jan 9, 2001

100% E by 2003: 24x7 e-government

E-government, information & services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, will help meet our expectations and make things a little easier and a lot more convenient. Together, we can create E-government so that every Iowan who seeks information, applies for a license or permit, or file a tax return or other document, will be able to do so whenever and however is most convenient for them. Let us accept the challenge of 100% E by 2003. Iowans need it. Leadership of a new economy requires it.
Source: Condition of the State speech to the Legislature , Jan 9, 2001

Chief information officer to digitize federal government.

Vilsack signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Performance-Based Government
The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.

In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.

When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results. Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

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

Vilsack 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

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