Medford, Or – Standing with owners of ten Southern Oregon E-commerce retail companies, U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said keeping the Internet tax free is important to job creation and he will oppose legislation that would force online sellers to collect sales taxes.
“One of Southern Oregon’s best kept secrets is that E-Commerce has become a major economic force and job creator in the Rogue Valley,” Wyden said. “Forcing these companies to become tax collectors amounts to bureaucratic water torture.”
Local economic development officials estimate the number of E-commerce businesses in Medford is roughly 22 times that of an average community. Wyden on Tuesday convened the first-ever meeting of Internet retail businesses in Southern Oregon, which he said has become an “epicenter” of E-Commerce. The meeting that took place at Musician’s Friend, one of the largest Internet retailers in the nation, included representatives of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Motorcycle Superstore, Harry & David, AirScape Fans, Herb Pharm, Procare Software, DreamSacks, CDS Publications, and Recognition Specialties.
“We talked a lot about the Internet Tax Freedom Act. We talked about some of the challenges we face and some of the solutions to those challenges,” said Craig Johnson, CEO of Muscian’s Friend. “Overall, it was a very productive session.”
Wyden is the author of the bipartisan Internet Tax Freedom Act, a 1998 law that has kept the Internet free of the patchwork of sales and other taxes imposed by states and other jurisdictions.
“Instead of seeing their money go out the door in sales taxes on the items they ship, they have been able to invest in their business, expand, hire more people and be more innovative,” Wyden said. “I intend to continue to thwart any efforts that would limit the development of the Internet and discourage its use as a platform for commerce.”
Wyden said he intends to make sure that legislation that allow states to force online sellers to collect sales tax, even if the seller has no physical presence in the state, never makes it out of Congress.
Wyden also said that he intends to use his position as chairman of the International Trade Subcommittee to make sure U.S. technology and Internet firms are treaty fairly overseas.