Tom Ridge on Technology

Secretary of Homeland Defense; Former Republican Governor (PA)


Install biometric checks at 150 international airports

The federal government has long had an outdated system to record the arrival of visitors in this country: passport photos. Technology, meanwhile, had been developed that allowed for much more intense scrutiny. A system of biometrics was now possible. It was my firm goal to install a system of biometric checks at every US airport that processes international travelers--more than 150 of them--by the end of 2003. Part of the new system would be not only taking biometrics of visitors when they come into the country but recording their departure as well. In that way, authorities could check electronically to see who has overstayed their welcome, as the 9/11 hijackers had done.

They would now have their fingerprints checked with new digital technology. In a matter of a few seconds, a photo of a print could be compared electronically to thousands of FBI or other files of known criminals or terrorists. I insisted that we call the program something positive--not Exit/Entry, but US-VISIT.

Source: The Test of our Times, by Tom Ridge, p.252-253 , Sep 1, 2009

End computer service tax; start R&D tax credit

His first two budgets increased spending at less than the rate of inflation and he got the legislature to abolish the state tax on computer services and give a tax credit for research and development.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Jan 28, 2000

Level playing field for Main Street vs. Internet sales tax.

Ridge adopted a letter to Congress from 44 Governors:

The nation’s governors have a strong and unified message to Congress: deal fairly with Main Street retailers, consumers, and local governments. In a letter sent to all members of Congress late Friday, 44 governors said:

If you care about a level playing field for Main Street retail businesses and local control of states, local governments, and schools, extend the moratorium on taxing Internet access ONLY with authorization for the states to streamline and simplify the existing sales tax system. To do otherwise perpetuates a fundamental inequity and ignores a growing problem.
The current moratorium on Internet access taxes, like those consumers pay to Internet service providers, and multiple and discriminatory taxes is scheduled to expire in October. The moratorium does not apply to sales taxes.

Currently, sales and use taxes are owed on all online transactions, but states are prohibited from requiring “remote sellers” to collect and remit those levies. A 1992 US Supreme Court decision said states can only require sellers that have a physical presence in the same state as the consumer to collect so-called use taxes. In instances when a seller does not have a physical presence, consumers are required to calculate and remit the taxes owed to their home states at the end of the year. The problem is most people are unaware that they’re supposed to pay, and states lack an effective enforcement mechanism. Online and catalog sellers, thereby, have a significant price advantage over Main Street businesses that must collect a sales tax on all transactions.

The loophole creates serious budget problems for schools, states, and local governments. A study estimated that states could lose as much as $14 billion by 2004 if they are unable to collect existing taxes on Web-based sales. Nearly half of state revenues come from sales taxes.

Source: NGA Press Release, "Level Playing Field" 01-NGA18 on Aug 20, 2001

Other candidates on Technology: Tom Ridge on other issues:
Incoming Trump Administration:

Outgoing Obama Administration:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
State:John Kerry
HUD:Julian Castro
State:Hillary Clinton
Staff:Rahm Emanuel

Former Bush Administration:
State:Colin Powell
State:Condi Rice

Former Clinton Administration:
HUD:Andrew Cuomo
V.P.Al Gore
Labor:Robert Reich
A.G.:Janet Reno
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Search for...

Page last updated: Jan 14, 2017