New York 'iPod tax' incites media bleating
Four-cent proposal twists knickers
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 Business Review of Albany, New York: "NY governor proposes 'iPod tax'"
- Business First of Buffalo, New York: "Have you heard about NY's iPod tax?"
- Silicon Alley Insider of New York City: "New York Governor Proposes iPod Tax"
- The Guardian of London: "New York hits iPod users with tax on downloads"
- Time: "New York Gov. Proposes 'iPod Tax'"
- The Times of London: "Gov David Paterson calls for 'iPod tax' to close state's budget deficit"
- The Houston Examiner: "New York to tax your iPod, Coke and Pepsi"
- Scientific American: "New York proposes iPod tax"
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. ®
"... Reflectorized ... " - please, for those who don't speak Merkin, can you put it in plain English please? :)
So is that just reflective number plates? If so - how have you not had these for years anyway??
Unfortunately, it sounds like NYS has got the worst of both worlds - supporting and financing the few who can achieve "The American Dream" in NYC, along with a little "Rip-Off-Britain" thrown in for good measure... sucks to be you... you could always come over here though, but I'm assuming Britain is the most highly taxed US state (oh come on, we practically are!)... so you might just be going to somewhere much more crappy.
As stated, 50% of the comments clearly indicate people don't read.
Living in NYS and being quite annoyed by these proposals I'll offer a different take. There is more to NYS than New York City. So for everyone not from here, learn it. The rest of the state is forced to provide financial support to the cesspool that is NYC. Well, the Democrats get what they deserve now.
Reflectorized license plates (pimp my ride!)
Taxing haircuts, pedicures, etc.
Taxing gym memberships (this presumably offsets the 18% tax on non-diet soda)
There's a lot more BS in this bill than a 4% tax on digital entertainment.
It won't pass... or I'll be paying for a new license plate.. in another state.
I believe I have 1/2 an IT brain, but I didn't know this.
I specialize in enterprise data solutions... why the feck would I need to know about some music thingy that the youth of today use as status symbols and drive local crime in terms of muggings, thefts, burglaries and so on? I can't play my vinyl on it can I? You folk these days think IT is all about music and the internet rather than principles of computer science used to deliver profitable services to businesses, rather than who is the |-|@><0r l33t 5|<1llz at downloading ripped music and movies...