The 7th Annual State of the Net Conference commenced today featuring leading Internet policy gurus and discussion panels focusing on privacy/security issues, telecommunications regulation and similar topics. One episode of head-butting occurred between representatives of eBay and Amazon over the volatile issue of online sales tax.
This isn’t the first time the two online businesses have clashed over the disputed issue of regulating online sales tax. According the eCommerce Bytes, eBay’s head of North American government relations, Becky Relic, spoke up in support of small businesses who, she claims, stand to lose business if forced to compete toe-to-toe with Amazon. Relic said, “We need to see all small businesses grow, all of them thrive.”
In the opposite corner, Paul Misener, Vice President of Amazon Global Public Policy, countered by saying that “the time is now for Congress to act” and that Amazon’s view is that “Congress may, should and feasibly can allow the state to require out-of-state sellers to collect [taxes].” eCommerce Bytes continues:
Misener and other backers of sales tax reform are quick to point out that the legislation would set minimum annual revenue thresholds that sellers would have to meet before the states could require them to collect the taxes. The Marketplace Fairness Act pending in the Senate, for instance, would exempt sellers with annual remote sales of less than $500,000, meaning that more than 99 percent of online sellers would not have to collect the tax, according to Misener.
No mention of Relic or Misener was mentioned on the State of the Net’s agenda so it remains to be seen if the scuffle will surface on State of the Net’s YouTube channel, where they’ve been posting video of panels and keynote speakers.