Skip to main content


ICYMI- Goodlatte Attends Internet Crawl to Promote Local Businesses

The News & Advance
Goodlatte attends Internet crawl to promote local businesses
Posted 5:25 am, Tue Apr 9, 2013

Emerging facets of the Internet and a campaign to let them develop freely brought Rep. Robert Goodlatte to Lynchburg Monday to promote four small businesses that have discovered new ways to reach customers.

Goodlatte, R-6th District, said the internet can “continue to be the innovative engine that drives our economy” as long as it is “free in terms of low taxes and low government regulation.”

He added he has “a number of concerns” about this year’s high-profile legislation called the Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require online retailers to collect state sales taxes.

Some online sellers collect tax for Virginia but those that don’t have retail stores in the state usually don’t.

“I recognize there are complaints by brick-and-mortar businesses who compete directly with online businesses,” Goodlatte said.

Complications arise when states allow items to be sold untaxed and when tax rates vary from one part of the state to another, he said.

Several states have refused to accept universal rates, which would make it easier for online sellers to collect the sales tax, Goodlatte said.

On another topic, he said it’s still necessary for Congress to pass some form of the Stop Online Piracy Act, a top issue Goodlatte supported unsuccessfully in 2012.

The anti-piracy act would protect intellectual property such as movies and music, and legitimate retail web sites. Those ventures continue to be victims of theft or knockoff products sold by big businesses that operate from other countries, Goodlatte said.

The congressman’s visit to the four businesses on Main and Commerce streets was organized by The Internet Association, a seven-month-old organization that describes itself as the unified voice of the internet economy. The association represents 15 Internet companies including, eBay, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.

Michael Beckerman, association president, said its members opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act last year.

But the association is not taking a position on the Marketplace Fairness Act, Beckerman said. Some of its 15 members support the act, but others oppose it.

Questions about taxing and regulating the internet were unavoidable Monday because of Goodlatte’s background as a co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus and his current role as head of the House Judiciary Committee.

Those roles may have been a factor in the campaign money Goodlatte received in 2012.

According to Open, a campaign-finance watchdog, Goodlatte’s largest campaign contributors last year were in the computer-and-internet industries, which contributed $120,743. The largest contributor in the sector was Google Inc., which gave him $13,250.

Discussing another aspect of the Marketplace Fairness Act, Goodlatte said he and Gov. Bob McDonnell discussed the transportation bill approved by Virginia’s General Assembly. The bill will go into effect July 1 and counts on receiving $144,000 per year through the Marketplace Fairness Act.

“I told the governor before that bill was ever passed that he should not count on any particular timetable” for the Marketplace Fairness Act to be passed by Congress.

“I explained to him there were a lot of problems with state governors around the country,” Goodlatte said.

The transportation bill contains a provision to increase Virginia’s wholesale gasoline tax in 2015 if Congress does not pass the Marketplace Fairness Act.