Inside: E-Commerce

STATES URGED TO REMOVE OBSTACLES TO ONLINE BUSINESS

Oregon is the state most friendly to people and companies that want to conduct business over the Internet, according to a study by the Progressive Policy Institute.

The study, “The Best States for E-Commerce,” measured how state laws, regulations and administrative actions support or hinder Internet use. It looked at the extent to which states impose industry-specific protectionist laws, whether they tax Internet access, whether they enable Internet users to conduct online transactions with state government, and if they recognize the validity of digital signatures.

“We hope our findings encourage states to examine carefully their laws, particularly those designed to protect incumbent brick-and-mortar companies against e-commerce competitors,” the report says.

States can create a more friendly Internet environment for businesses by:

  • Avoiding protectionist regulation.

  • Promoting uniformity in licensing requirements across state boundaries.

  • Using information technologies to create digital government.

  • Adopting the Uniform Electronics Transactions Act to enable the use of digital signatures.

  • Eliminating taxes on Internet access.


PENN GOES ONLINE WITH BEN

The University of Pennsylvania has installed a new online procurement application called the Business Enterprise Network (BEN).

The web-based financial and e-commerce system includes applications for purchasing, accounts payable and general ledger, and is fully integrated into the university's other business applications and reporting functions.

“BEN has made a significant impact on Penn's purchasing efficiencies and costs,” says Ralph Meier, the school's associate director of acquisition services. “We're dramatically reducing the time and effort related to purchase-order creation and have streamlined the entire procurement process.”

About 1,600 staff members from Penn's 12 schools and 20 business units now have access to Penn Marketplace, the application for online procurement.

For more information about Penn's purchasing system, go to www.purchasing.upenn.edu.


ONLINE MESSAGE BOARD FOR SCHOOL SURPLUSES

Schools, universities and other public entities with surplus supplies and equipment can use a new online message board to help find new users for the unwanted materials.

The “Arizona Surplus Auction Message Board (http://pub39.ezboard.com/barizonasurplusauction) was established by an employee at an Arizona community college to provide an outlet for disposing of surplus items. Despite the “Arizona” in the name, the message board welcomes participants from other states.

The message board targets lower-end surplus items that are not worth the expense of putting up for auction, but are too expensive to continue to store, such as “surplus desks, tables, printers, CPUs, books, maintenance equipment, dishes, paper stock, exercise equipment, disk drives… just about anything,” according to the website.

After the message board brings together two parties, “it's up to them to arrange a mutually agreeable transfer solution,” says the website.


THE BEST AND WORST STATES FOR E-COMMERCE

The five best

The five worst

1. Oregon

47. North Carolina

2. Utah

48. California

3. Indiana

49. Alabama

4. Louisiana

50. New Mexico

5. Iowa

51. South Carolina

(*includes District of Columbia)
Source: “The Best States for E-Commerce,” Progressive Policy Institute

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