Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Tax Hiker Of The Year

December 17, 2008

New York Gov. David Paterson wins the award for this laundry list of items he has proposed taxing:

  • — Downloaded music — the “iPod tax”
  • — Cable and satellite television
  • — Movie tickets
  • — Taxi rides
  • — Massages
  • — Tobacco and alcohol

And that’s just a sampling of the 80-plus new fees and taxes on his list. Paterson also is the brains behind the call for an “obesity tax” on soda. Yet another reason to be thankful that I live in Virginia.

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New York’s Internet Tax Grab

May 1, 2008

Until February, I had worked as the managing editor and then editor of National Journal’s Technology Daily for seven-plus years. One of our recurring areas of coverage was the never-ending push by politicians to find ways to tax the Internet.

As the Wall Street Journal shows in an editorial about New York’s latest attempt at an Internet tax grab, the Supreme Court has made such taxes all but impossible by holding, rightly, that Congress alone has authority over interstate commerce. One state can’t tax consumers in another state for purchases made online.

But that reality won’t keep the tax-and-spenders from trying:

New York Gov. David Paterson is not repeating the worst mistakes of his predecessor. That’s too high, or perhaps we should say too low, a bar. Still, the new governor has resurrected one of Eliot Spitzer’s least popular ideas, a tax on Internet sales that he hopes will raise more than $70 million a year. Despised by consumers and constitutional scholars alike, this new tax will hit e-shoppers within weeks.

By signing the state’s budget, Mr. Paterson is now attempting to do what Mr. Spitzer only threatened: force out-of-state retailers such as Amazon.com to collect New York’s sales taxes, which approach 9 percent, including local levies.

The bad news for New Yorkers, the Journal predicts, is that “some companies will feel pressure to pay instead of doing battle with a state government” until a court overturns this tax grab.

Tomorrow’s Online Music Tax

March 29, 2008

The latter part of this quote from an article in Portfolio.com is overblown: “It’ll be a government-approved cartel that collects money from virtually everyone — often without their knowledge — and failure to pay their tax will ultimately result in people with guns coming to your door.”

But the underlying criticism of a proposal to add a $5 fee to people’s Internet service in order to license music downloads is on the mark. It’s a horrible idea, another hidden tax that would punish people who don’t use the Internet to download music just because the music industry has stubbornly resisted changing its business models for the 21st century.