Susan Collins on Technology
Republican Jr Senator (ME)
Voted YES on authorizing states to collect Internet sales taxes.
Congressional Summary: The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 authorizes each state to require all sellers with sales exceeding $1 million in the preceding calendar year to collect and remit sales and use taxes, but only if complying with the minimum simplification requirements relating to the administration of such taxes & audits.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes
on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.
Reference: Marketplace Fairness Act;
; vote number 13-SV113
on May 6, 2013
Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.
Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act;
Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495
; vote number 2007-406
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted YES on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.
An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Proponents of the bill say to vote YEA because:
- [In my state], Philadelphia's 30th Street station is the second busiest train station nationally, with over 3.7 million boarding a year. And 3,000 people are employed by Amtrak in Pennsylvania. Amtrak and the health of Amtrak is important.
- Last year the Senate transportation bill had $1.45 billion for Amtrak, which is obviously more than the $900 million in the current budget proposal. I am offering an amendment to increase that funding from the $900 million which is in the bill right now to the $1.45 billion level and adding $550 million.
- I support funding through the section 920 account [without a tax increase]. We have seen that without raising the cap or without raising taxes, the Senate has been able to
come up with a robust number for Amtrak which I will support within the context of a responsible budget.
- We have spent less money on Amtrak in the last 35 years than we will on highways in this year alone. And highways don't pay for themselves, even with the gas tax. Neither does mass transit, either in this country or anywhere else in the world. But we subsidize them because they improve the quality of our lives.
- We have never provided the kind of commitment to Amtrak that we have for other modes of transportation, and this amendment will be an important step to getting Amtrak off the starvation budgets that it has subsisted on for far too long.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill;
Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83
; vote number 2006-052
on Mar 15, 2006
- The problem with that is there is no money in the section 920 account. If we want to talk about "funny money" financing, that is it--taking money from an account that has no money. This whole budget takes money we don't have. The result is we keep running up the debt.
Voted YES on disallowing FCC approval of larger media conglomerates.
Vote to pass a joint resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission. The rule would therefore have no force or effect. The rule in question deals with broadcast media ownership and would allow media conglomerates to own more television stations and newspapers.
Reference: FCC Media Ownership bill;
Bill S J Res 17/H.J.RES.72
; vote number 2003-348
on Sep 16, 2003
Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.
Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
; vote number 1998-296
on Oct 2, 1998
Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.
Collins co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services
A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:
- The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
- 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
- There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
- Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
- A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
- While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in
41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
- 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.
Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.
Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007
Create online database of science & math scholarships.
Collins co-sponsored creating online database of science & math scholarships
Directs the Secretary of Education to establish and maintain, on the public website of the Department of Education, a database of information on public and private programs of financial assistance for the study of postsecondary and graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Requires that such database:Requires the Secretary and the entity contracted to furnish and regularly update information to consult with public and private sources of scholarships and make easily available a process for the sources to provide regular and updated information.
Source: National STEM Scholarship Database Act (S.2428/H.R.1051) 2007-S2428 on Dec 6, 2007
- provide separate information for each field of study;
- be searchable by category and combinations of categories;
- indicate programs targeted toward specific demographic groups;
- provide searchers with program sponsor contact information and hyperlinks; and
- include a recommendation that students and families carefully review application requirements and a disclaimer that scholarships presented in the database are not provided or endorsed by the Department or the federal government.
Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.
Collins co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation
Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.
Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.
The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets.
The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.
The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.
This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.
This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.
Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008
No performance royalties for radio music.
Collins signed Local Radio Freedom Act
CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Supporting the Local Radio Freedom Act
Source: SCR.14&HCR.49 2009-SCR14 on Mar 30, 2009
- Whereas the US enjoys broadcasting and sound recording industries that are the envy of the world, due to the symbiotic relationship that has existed among these industries for many decades;
- Whereas for more than 80 years, Congress has rejected repeated calls by the recording industry to impose a performance fee on local radio stations for simply playing music on the radio;
- Whereas local radio stations provide free publicity and promotion to the recording industry and performers of music in the form of radio air play, interviews with performers, introduction of new performers, and concert promotions;
Whereas Congress found that 'the sale of many sound recordings and the careers of many performers benefited considerably from airplay and other over-the-air broadcasting;
- Whereas there are many thousands of local radio stations that will suffer severe economic hardship if any new performance fee is imposed, as will many other small businesses that play music including bars, restaurants, shopping centers and transportation facilities;
- Resolved: That Congress should not impose any new performance fee, tax, royalty, or other charge relating to the public performance of sound recordings on a local radio station for broadcasting sound recordings over-the-air, or on any business for such public performance of sound recordings.
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