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Hoosier Internet sales tax bill is ill advised

The U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent protect Indiana’s businesses from the scourge of Chicago and New York tax collectors.

Today, Indiana businesses, whether selling online, over the phone or via catalog, only must collect sales taxes for purchases to Indiana consumers. The businesses only must file taxes with the Indiana tax collectors and face audits from Indiana auditors.

As a result, Indiana’s main street businesses, such as Burton’s Maple Syrup in Medora, easily can use the Internet to reach customers across the country.

But it appears some lawmakers in Indianapolis are prepared to upend these protections and expose Indiana businesses to tax collectors from across the country.

Read more at Northwest Indiana Times 

FTC Horse

Ohlhausen should direct FTC to focus on real harms to privacy

When was the last time you read a privacy policy? I mean actually read it, not just clicked “I agree”?

The FTC has said time and time again that “consumers don’t read privacy policies.”  They’ve been doing this for nearly a decade. In 2007, then-Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz declared that “in many cases, consumers don’t notice, read, or understand the privacy policies.” Likewise, study after study has substantiated this fact.

Of course, it doesn’t take an FTC chairman, or a researcher to tell us this, we all know that we rarely, if ever, read the privacy policies we’re presented.

READ MORE at The Hill

Privacy

NetChoice Applauds Introduction of Email Privacy Act

The Email Privacy Act (HR 387) would extend privacy protections to all electronic content, fixing a legacy flaw in our law that give little protection to emails over 6 months old. 

The bi-partisan Email Privacy Act (HR 387) brings common-sense legal privacy protections to all our electronic content.  Today, our privacy in electronic communication is protected by a 30-year-old law that is decades out of date.  The Act brings the 30-year-old ECPA law into the 21st Century,” said NetChoice Senior Policy Counsel Carl Szabo.

“We look forward to working with Congress in advancing this bill to benefit all Americans.”

ABC News - After 10 years of iPhone, calls for government to regulate video uploads, livestreaming

“I think that’s a really slippery slope,” said Carl Szabo of NetChoice, which advocates for a free internet.
Szabo says the government could attempt to regulate, but it would not be able to keep up with technological innovation. As soon as a law is passed, he says, that technology could be obsolete.

“You’re beginning to look at issues of free speech and the intrusion on free speech by governmental entities. So it’s very dangerous,” added Szabo.

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Digital Death Guide - Who inherits a selfie? States seek to fill privacy law gaps

Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at NetChoice, an industry group that represents the interests of such companies as Facebook, Google and PayPal, said the revised legislation “balances the needs of the bereaved with the privacy interests of the account holders and the people with whom they corresponded.”

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Knoxville Daily Sun - Tennesseans not buying new online sales tax regulations

“Tennessee tax collectors are poised to extend their taxing powers, leaving the state vulnerable to legal challenges, and exposing Tennessee-based businesses to retaliation from other states,” said Carl Szabo, NetChoice policy counsel and a scheduled witness at Thursday’s Joint Government Operations Committee hearing. “Ignoring federal doctrine by requiring out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax is a killer for small businesses and a losing cause in the courts.”

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Lebanon Democrat - Haslam’s proposed sales-tax rule survives first round

Roth and Carl Szabo, senior policy council for NetChoice, an e-commerce advocacy and lobby group, also told the panel it was take at least six years to get a case before the Supreme Court.

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State Tax Notes - Tennessee Officials Push for Adoption of Remote Sales Tax Regulation

Opponents claimed the issue isn’t so black and white. Carl Szabo, senior policy counsel at NetChoice, argued that numerous out-of-state online retailers are already collecting sales tax and remitting it to Tennessee. He also argued the rule would be bad for Tennessee residents because they will end up paying more in sales taxes.

Szabo also said the legislature should be acting on the issue rather than the DOR, a sentiment echoed by some committee members. He asserted that challenging Quill would be “an unwinnable lawsuit that won’t be resolved for many years.”
“The Haslam administration’s clear talking point was that this issue was about fairness for Tennessee businesses and their competition with online retailers, but they were careful not to focus on the fact that the tax revenue generated from this measure would be from the pocketbooks of Tennessee citizens — a point that was highlighted later in the hearing by Carl Szabo of NetChoice,” Carter said.

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TimesFree Press - Haslam's proposed sales-tax rule on internet retailers survives first legislative encounter

Roth and Carl Szabo, senior policy council for NetChoice, an e-commerce advocacy and lobby group, also told the panel it was take at least six years to get a case before the Supreme Court.

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Times Free Press - Internet sales tax proposal coming before Tennessee legislative panel

Meanwhile, Carl Szabo, policy counsel for the internet trade and lobby association NetChoice whose members include eBay and Overstock.com, charged Tuesday that “Tennessee tax collectors are poised to extend their taxing powers, leaving the state vulnerable to legal challenges, and exposing Tennessee-based businesses to retaliation from other states. Ignoring federal doctrine by requiring out-of-state businesses to collect sales tax is a killer for small businesses and a losing cause in the courts.”

NetChoice released a poll it commissioned saying only 21 percent of 400 Tennesseans were inclined to support the proposed sales tax regulation. Fifty-six percent said they considered the new rule “a statewide tax increase, and 46 percent think it will adversely affect Tennessee businesses.”

The poll was conducted by Morar Consulting and, according to NetChoice, has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.

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