Cyberspace Taxes: The wireless industry is facing the same burgeoning problem as the online industry -- a growing patchwork of state-level infotech taxes.
But the online companies are further ahead in their anti-tax campaign. According to a paper issued by the industry-backed Interactive Services Association, any Internet tax imposed by the states should apply to subscribers and buyers, not to online or Internet access companies. Also, any tax regime should have uniform regulations and rates, and should be clearly labeled, said the paper. However, the paper eluded one critical issue; whether the online companies' claim that they don't have a taxable presence outside their home state is nullified by their use of nationwide communications networks.
Education Infotech: The Federal Communications Commission's Joint Board voted to divert up to $2.25 billion per year to subsidize communications links to schools and libraries. The money, to be paid by users of all telecommunications services, would subsidize between 90 percent and 40 percent of schools' and libraries' Internet links. The measure awaits final approval by the FCC in May.
But before any school gets its first dollar, the FCC must decide how to collect the money from the nation's telecommunications users. Naturally, each of the many competing factions in the telecom industry are promoting alternative fund-raising plans.
Lobbyists Galore: The 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act has flushed out many additional undeclared lobbyists from Congress' cubbyholes, generating a new tally of 12,754 lobbyists. The count was completed by the General Accounting Office and doubles the previous tally, which had stood at 6,078 lobbyists. The GAO also counted 2,778 lobbying organizations, up from 1,299 before passage of the act, which closed a variety of loopholes and required lobbyists and lobbying organizations to declare themselves.
8(a)s: Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla., will try to rev up his bill barring federal contract set-asides, following the decision by Californian voters to bar the state government from giving preferences to minority firms, students and workers. However, Clinton firmly defended the federal government's affirmative action programs throughout 1996, leaving Canady with only weak prospects for partial success. But Deval Patrick, the Justice Department's point man on affirmative action, is leaving, which could mean some change.