Oregon CSE Director Russ Walker Testifies Before Oregon Senate Revenue Committee on S.B. 660

“S.B. 660 is about providing more economic development opportunities for Oregon.” – Russ Walker

Salem, Oregon – Oregon CSE Director Russ Walker testified before the Oregon Senate Revenue Committee in favor of S.B. 660, “The 2001 Internet Tax Ban.” S.B. 660 would ban any Internet sales or access taxes in state, and prohibit the state, or any of its political subdivisions, from assisting in the collection of a tax, fee, or charge imposed by another state. Walker stated that S.B. 660 would “make it possible for Oregon businesses to compete and operate on the Internet and keep Oregon businesses from being required to adhere to a burdensome regulatory tax structure.” Testifying against the bill was Elizabeth Harshenko, Director of the Oregon Department of Revenue and Chair of the Multistate Tax Commission. The previous morning, Harshenko offered similar testimony before the United States Senate Commerce Committee on the same issue. Director Harshenko’s support for the cartel arrangements that S.B. 660 explicitly rejects, should engender some worthwhile debate in the coming weeks. That debate will center on the question of who will ultimately bear the burden of collecting taxes: the consumers and businesses of Oregon or out of state revenue officials.

Grassroots Mobilization and Support – Jeff Vanek, a CSE activist and Director of Business Affairs for Supertracks, an internet based company, accompanied Walker and testified in support of S.B. 660. Greg Drew, President and CEO of 800.com, also an Internet based company, submitted testimony in support of the 2001 Internet Tax Ban legislation. In his written testimony, Drew discussed the burdensome compliance costs associated with multi-state tax consortiums. He stated that, “800.com is the largest company of its kind in Oregon. Yet, we would need to sell more than $1.5 million in additional product in order to comply with the least obtrusive proposal for a multi-state tax consortium based on software enhanced retail tax collection. Some companies simply would not make it.”

Oregon CSE continues to be the leader in educating grassroots activists, policymakers and the media on this important issue. Oregon’s policymakers and grassroots activists have come to rely on CSE for succinct talking points and in-depth analyses of the issue. Oregon CSE has pressed the issue through numerous town hall and CSE club meetings across the state and on the airwaves and in the print media. Since January 1, 2001 OR CSE has educated over 2000 individuals on the Internet tax issue.