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Us City To Charge Tax Bloggers $300?

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Taking a step closer to an eerie Orwellian state where creativity is crushed in the name of “the greater good,” the city of Philadelphia is demanding that bloggers pay $300 for the privilege of writing on the Internet.

This $300 “business privilege license” is for all local bloggers – even the ones that make no money off their words.

The city doesn’t stop there. In addition to the $300 for the license to write on the World Wide Web, bloggers must pay city wage taxes, business privilege taxes and taxes on any net profits -- on top of state and federal taxes -- even if the blogger only made $11 over two years, reports the City Paper.

Blogger Marilyn Bess, whose Ms. Philly Organic Blog has made her a whopping $50 over the past few years, went to the city’s tax amnesty program to explain that she makes pennies on her hobby. They told her to hire an accountant, she told the City Paper.

In an economy where jobs are sparse and people try to make ends meet with part-time jobs, taxing the independent, scrappy freelancers and bloggers seems counterproductive.

But the emptying of bloggers’ wallets may not be the worst result of these taxes. With the city’s charge being more than what most bloggers make, their voices could be silenced, as the extra expense is enough to discourage many from even having a blog.

“To say that these kinds of draconian measures are detrimental to the public discourse would be an understatement,” writes the Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway.

So what’s next? Higher taxes for longer blogs, cutting the use of vocabulary “newspeak”-style. Oh Nineteen Eighty-Four, you still scare the spit out of us.

Is this a one off bit of insanity or a taste of what is to come? Many ideas to restrict peoples internet rights with taxes have been floated in the EU. Blogging provides the pluralist mix of ideas that the mainstream press lacks, and those in power hate that.

Are we living in some golden age where you take your humble laptop and simply 'write stuff' online unhindered?

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Well, attempting to charge people for writing their opinions would be an end to freedom of expression which is enshrined in the US Constiution.

There are two keys words to that phrase : Expression and Freedom.

Charging to express opinion would no longer mean it was free.

Case dismissed.

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I would have thought blogging epitomises FREE speech.

You ration it or limit by charging you deny people a voice.

The internet is such a wonderful thing, it would be a great pity if it became just another government tool to beat or tax us with.

The internet (blogging) is doing what the press have failed to - question.

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