Today the Daily Caller ran an editorial by Franklin Center President Jason Stverak on the recent controversial decision by the government in Philadelphia to tax bloggers. Feel free to repost.
Philadelphia’s blogger tax is a bad idea
Local and state governments around the nation are struggling to move out of the red. Some are cutting spending while others are laying off government employees. But one city has decided to levy a new tax on a group of individuals who voice their lives, problems, and concerns via the internet. Yes, bloggers in Philadelphia beware: you are now subject to a $300 “business privilege license.”
What is being dubbed as the “blogger tax” is a recent demand by cash-strapped Philadelphia for bloggers to pay $50 a year or $300 for a lifetime business license. There is no revenue minimum for this tax, so all bloggers who earn any money from their blogs are required to pay it.
Saying that this tax is a bad idea is an understatement. In addition to being an unnecessary tax burden on bloggers, this new tax is a slippery slope and could hinder citizen journalism.
People tend to forget that bloggers are not all teenagers grumbling about their bad dates or conspiracy theorists railing against the government. The blogosphere is no longer just for ranters and ideologues. Increasingly, straight-shooting journalists cut from newsrooms are becoming online citizen journalists or forming non-profit online journalism organizations. These seasoned journalists-turned-bloggers will quit blogging if they are taxed on their meager profits.
This new class of citizen journalists has been widely recognized as the answer to the depleting resources at newspapers around the nation. It will come as no surprise that the traditional news model is failing and as such many are looking to the internet and blogs for the re-animation of journalism.