I live about two miles from the border of the city of Philadelphia. This has both good effects and bad. If I want to go to the ballet, the art museum or the latest musical I can get there in less than half an hour on public transportation. It also brings some of the best hospitals in the nation within reach for treatment. The latter became important when I received some serious injuries a couple years ago and was in a fantastic trauma unit.
And then there are the negatives. The traffic into and from Philadelphia affects traffic here. Violence hasn't really arrived from Philly but it right at the edges of town. And the poverty in the nearby section of Philly spills over.
But tonight I celebrate the fact that I don't live in Philly, even with all its benefits. In the Washington Post today there was an article that says Philadelphia has begun to demand that bloggers get business licenses to the tune of $300.00 and pay tax on any money they make. I immediately thought: a. I am very glad I live outside of Philly and b. you can make money by blogging without doing it for some corporation? Who knew? One poor person was told to get a business license and to pay taxes on the $11.00 he made over the past two years!
Granted Philadelphia like many cities and states has some serious financial problems. With the recession/depression tax income has gone down and the city has two choices: cut programs or raise taxes. Of course if the city raises taxes more businesses will move to the suburbs ultimately sending the city deficit higher. And the problem is so great that the city has terrible choices. Should it cut police and fire personnel or close libraries and pools? Or will it have to do both?
But a tax on blogging? It's not like most of us bloggers work for newspapers, magazines, or televisions stations or networks. Most of us are individuals who shoot off our big mouths on the internet just like we would on the telephone or the public street. A lot of us talk about important issues, or at least what we think are important issues. And we have the joy of carrying on long distance conversations/arguments with other bloggers around the nation and world.
I suppose it would be impossible to tax people talking on the public street or gossiping on their phones (now there is a good idea: tax gossip, another sin tax!) . Or maybe not Big Brother is always watching, in parking lots, businesses and even at traffic lights. Big brother could just as easily listen, at least on telephones.
So bloggers let us hope and pray that states and the feds and other cities do not jump to follow Philadelphia's lead. Blog tax would be just as chilling on free speech as Google's suggestion that they keep an eye on who goes where, does what and says what on the internet.
In the meantime it is very nice to live two miles outside the Philadelphia city limits.