Thursday, March 20, 2008

Borderline aggravating

California Assemblyman Charles Calderon has introduced a bill in which those downloading items from iTunes would have to pay a tax, something that currently does not happen in the state but does happen in other states. According to the Orange County Register's Brian Joseph,

California law explicitly restricts sales tax to "tangible" goods – i.e. products that can be "seen, weighed, measured, felt or touched." New taxes require a 2/3rd vote of the Legislature, meaning some anti-tax Republicans would have to sign onto the proposal, but Calderon got creative. Instead of proposing a new tax, AB 1956 simply requires the Board of Equalization to amend the definition of "tangible personal property" to include "digital property." That needs only a majority vote, meaning no Republicans necessary. Voila! A new tax – without a 2/3rds vote

It seems that, until relatively recently, the tax that could be gained has represented a low mark on a politician's reward scale. But add to the fact that download sites have become so prevalent and popular that now movies are more readily available from these sites as well as studios, politicians see a huge potential source of revenue. It is, it seems, a classic example of the dichotomy that exists between fiscal conservatives and liberals. Rather than recognizing and accepting the idea of the trickle-down, to whatever degree it exists and flourishes around and under the digital download market, liberal lawmakers see the innovation and effectiveness of an (any) industry as an exploitable means by which to maintain and bolster an already excessively bloated centralized government.

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