Visiting Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, a special adviser on information technology to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, suggested Monday that the United States may introduce some kind of Internet taxation.
Gilmore, 51, said the U.S. may introduce federal legislation regarding Internet taxation because allowing each state to introduce a tax regime would be too complicated.
His explanation of the proposal was evasive, saying it was a controversial issue that had not been decided upon. He did not mention the proportion or type of tax being considered.
The Internet has “transformed society and the business world,” he said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.
Emphasizing the ease with which the Internet allows people to exchange information, Gilmore said the medium will herald an era of “digital opportunity” rather than one of “digital divide” between rich and poor, as some critics believe.
He said the invention of the telephone prompted similar fears that were soon allayed by its rapid acceptance into daily life. Gilmore hopes Virginia’s many high-tech industries will enable them to play a large role in protecting privacy over the Net and in countering cyberterrorism.
Gilmore is visiting Japan as the head of a trade delegation from Virginia. He also plans to visit South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.