Senator Ted Cruz advocated for online freedom when he made remarks about internet taxation and regulation at Capitol Factory in Austin, Texas on Friday.
He told an audience that we have seen “incredible potential that the internet has delivered and the steps we need to take to ensure it keeps delivering at that level.”
Cruz said that the internet has been “transformational” in terms of free speech and also provides entrepreneurial opportunities. Thanks to the internet, “anyone can be a small business owner,” Cruz said. Implementing an internet tax — or over-regulating the net — could trample on these opportunities.
“In Texas we say, ‘Don’t mess with Texas,'” Cruz remarked. “The simple message that I want to convey today … is don’t mess with the internet. [It is] freedom that has enabled [the internet] to develop. The worst thing that could happen is letting a whole bunch of politicians come in and regulate.”
If Congress moved to impose a massive internet sales tax, the results would be devastating, Cruz said.
“They are going to take mom and pop retailers, who are trying to sell online, and subject them to [thousands] of taxing jurisdictions,” the congressman said. “So lets say you formed a company and you want to make retro lava lamps. Under this legislation, if you’re selling retro lava lamps all over the country, you’re required to know and collect sales taxes in every state in the union that has a sales tax, every county that has a sales tax, every school board that has a sales tax.”
In Cruz’s view, the internet would also lose efficiency and innovation if the government got too heavily involved.
He said, “When you think of regulated monopolies, regulated public utilities, what are the adjectives that come to mind? They are not bold, innovative, [or] fair….Whenever the federal government comes in and they put regulations, I can promise you that over and over and over again the will favor the big guys that have armies of lobbyists.”
Cruz concluded, “Our constitutional rights don’t end when we go online….[We must] cherish the ability to innovate. The only way to preserve that freedom is to speak out against those in Washington who want to regulate and tax.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.