Feeds

New York 'iPod tax' incites media bleating

Four-cent proposal twists knickers

Boost IT visibility and business value

It's a sign of the digital times: New York's governor proposes a state budget that slashes spending on education and healthcare, lays off hundreds of workers, and increases taxes on everything from cigars to beer to luxury yachts, and most media reports focus on the proposal's misleadingly monikered "iPod tax."

Think we're exaggerating? Check out this partial list:

The blogosphere dutifully followed the mainstream-media herd:

  • Fountainhead Zero: New York State Budget Crisis: iPod Tax"
  • CrunchGear: "NY governor proposes iPod tax (among others) to make up budget shortfall"
  • Modern Conservative: "New York State Budget Crisis: iPod Tax?"
  • Newsvine: "Gov. David Paterson unveils dire New York State budget that includes... the iPod Tax"
  • osmoothie: "New York blasted with 88 new taxes, including an 'iPod tax'"

People, people, people...

There are three reasons to be miffed at the iPodification of the proposed New York State budget by the media. First - and least important - the iPod is being singled out by lazy headline writers as the target of the tax. Not so. Those who have actually read the budget proposal will note that it refers to "digitally delivered entertainment services" and not merely wares from the iTunes Store. We're talking everything from instantly downloadable Netflix gratification to porn-by-the-pound from GigaGrope.tv.

Second, taxing downloadable digital content is not news. Over two-and-a-half years ago, Cnet reported that "15 states and the District of Columbia now tax downloads of music, movies and electronic books." A follow-up article this year added that "In 2008 alone, at least nine states have considered digital download taxes, and at least five of those states have enacted them into law." Taxing the download stream has become a mainstream revenue stream.

Third, and finally, is simple fairness. Financially, New York State is in the toilet. Tax revenue from Wall Street? Gone. Tax revenue from tourism? Crippled. Local real-estate taxes? Evaporating. Paterson's proposed budget tears a bloody $3.5bn chunk out of the state's healthcare budget and sharply increases tuition at the State University of New York and City University of New York systems at a time when students can't even find jobs asking "Do you want fries with that?" because fewer and fewer New Yorkers can afford those tasty artery-cloggers. It lays off 521 state workers while unemployment skyrockets and cuts nearly $700m from aid to schools.

And the discussion centers on the part of the proposal that levies a four-cent tax on a 99-cent tune from the iTunes Store? Puh-leeze...

A little perspective would be welcome. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.