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Lieberman Talks IT at Gartner Conference

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The digital divide, Internet taxes, and economic growth were topics taken up by Senator Joseph Lieberman, vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket with Al Gore, as part of an appearance at the GartnerGroup ITxpo. Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard Cheney was also invited, but declined, citing other commitments.

Senator Lieberman fielded questions from Gartner CEO Michael Fleisher. “We’ve learned some things over the last eight years that lead us to ‘the perfect economy,’” said Lieberman, referring to a phrase coined by Gartner analyst Ken McGee to describe the booming online information economy. “When growth occurs, it occurs in the private sector. Government doesn’t create jobs.”

While 50 percent of the nation’s population still does not have Internet access, Lieberman expressed confidence that this gap will soon be closed. “The Internet has seen record growth as a medium,” he noted. Lieberman also said that the Internet holds great promise with initiatives such as Internet-based voting.

On the issue of e-commerce taxes, Lieberman acknowledged the inevitability of taxes being slapped on transactions by state and local authorities. However, he stated that he and Gore support extending the federal moratorium on Internet taxes for approximately three to four years. The government kept a hands-off policy while the Web was in its formative stages in recent years, he said. However, ultimately, “there has to be tax equitable treatment, whether it’s Internet or retail shopping centers.”

Lieberman also said that if elected, he and Gore would support formation of a federal government CIO post, to oversee the multitude of federal e-commerce initiatives. He did not elaborate on specific details of the position. Also, he noted that the federal government keeps improving the capabilities of its all-agency services portal Web site, www.firstgov.gov. -- Joseph McKendrick

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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