I know I have been outspoken on the City of Ottawa before, but even they wouldn’t do something this stupid.
Okay, they might once they hear about it, but for now, I would have to give Philadelphia the honour of the world’s stupidest motion in a bad effort to make money.
As Broad Street Hockey talks about, the City of Philadelphia wants to charge all bloggers $300 a year to have a blog. No matter if you blog about the Flyers, politics, reviews of CSI or knitting. And no matter if you make money or not.
(Editor’s note: As Todd pointed out in the comments, it’s “a business license that costs $50 a year or $300 for a lifetime.” Still too much money, in my opinion, but I wanted to put in that correction).
Basically, the city sees this as a way to make a little bit of extra dough.
Look, every city is pretty much cash-strapped. Some of that has to do with inflation, some of it due to pay hikes in employees’ salaries, and a lot of it due to city politicians making bad choices. Whether it be $5 million on a pet project that doesn’t need to be done, or money spent on studies that aren’t really needed, politicians can always find things to spend money on to make it seem like they keep busy.
But then they have trouble paying for these projects, and they need to find new ways to raise money. So they come up with ideas like this.
And there are some problems with the whole idea. I have no idea how they’re going to enforce it. How can they tell if you live in Philadelphia if you use a platform like WordPress? I know some of them submit their earnings when they fill out their taxes. And if people are reporting numbers like “I made $11 over two years” on their tax forms, wouldn’t they just stop reporting those numbers?
And would the city hire new employees, whose jobs it is to scour the Internet daily, looking for any blog posts that may mention Philadelphia?
And do people who are big business and like to blog on their work web site and already pay business taxes have to pay even more taxes?
If the motion goes through, all that it is going to accomplish will be to convince some bloggers to not blog anymore. They may decide it’s not worth it, and just stop altogether. And that is a shame, because there are a lot of talented writers out there.
The idea of charging people a fee to blog is a ludicrous idea, and it needs to be defeated.