I think my favorite video of the week so far has been the shots of state lawmakers in Sacramentonodding off as they pull all-nighters to settle this budget mess. Wondering if they've exhausted all potential income sources ...
I'm reading a story this morning about New York's proposal for getting some extra cash. A story in the New York Daily News with a very clever headline reports that New York Governor David Paterson is considering a tax on porn downloads. Okay, if you read the story closely, it's a 4 percent tax on all digital entertainment downloads... it's referred to as the "iPod tax." But doesn't a tax on porn sound like a much better headline?
It does to Republicans, who take that as an opportunity to blast the proposed tax. The story reads:
"By taxing it you're legitimizing it," said New York Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long, adding that government shouldn't profit from porn. "If you're taxing it -- how can it be wrong? I don't know how you can sink much deeper."
How about writing a story about it being a porn tax, so you can stick racy pictures up along with it to get people to check out your
Other states are looking toward other vices. Why not? It's kind of a tradition to tax things that people really shouldn't be doing ... like drinking and smoking and stuff like that, right?
New Hampshire is thinking about legalizing gambling to bring in some extra dough, according to the Manchester Democrat Examiner story. The proposed legislation would allow slot machines at race tracks and a big casino complex -- and according to a poll by the University of New Hampshire survey center, 40 percent of the people they talked to liked legalized gambling as a way to balance the budget. Only 25 percent liked the idea of more sales tax.
In Oregon, a huge tax increase on beer has brewers "hopping mad," according to a story on a Portland TV station website. There, a couple of lawmakers are brewing up a whopping 1,900 percent beer tax hike! Oregon has so much great beer, the brewers argue, in part because of its low beverage taxation rate. The story says that tax hasn't been raised in 32 years, and authors of the bill argue, it's a long overdue tax hike. And nobody agrees on exactly how much of a hike that will mean per beer -- the guesses are everywhere from fifteen cents per pint, to $1.50.
While states here are looking at taxing our hobbies and diversions, if you will, it's a different story Down Under. In Australia, one municipality is actually considering a "per flush" tax. A story on Perth Now details what it calls a radical new toilet tax that would kill two birds with one stone -- beat the budget issues AND the drought there.
No word anywhere on the proposed cost per flush ...