Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » A New Way to Spread the Wealth Around: Philadelphia Makes its Bloggers Pay Their Fair Share

A New Way to Spread the Wealth Around: Philadelphia Makes its Bloggers Pay Their Fair Share

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

When I wrote an article during the summer about San Francisco’s ban on the sale of soft drinks earlier this year, I had assumed that what the City by the Bay had cooked up was about as low as any municipality could possibly sink in terms of instituting anti-business policies.

It turns out that I was wrong.  Philadelphia has now officially surpassed San Francisco to become America’s most forthright city in championing stupidity as an art form. To what does it owe this dubious honor? Well, a new ordinance recently went into effect there which declares whatever paltry amounts of money its bloggers make from their advertisers which are usually the likes of Google AdSense or other pay-per-click programs, to be analogous to that of the much larger revenues gained by established businesses. In short, any blogger who resides in the City of Brotherly Love and makes even one red cent from his or her website will be forced to purchase an operational license costing $300. Needless to say, this leaves the vast majority of the bloggers in question at a huge deficit as it is extremely rare for the average blog to sell any more than around $20 worth of advertising space in a given year.

The regressive and, ultimately, counterproductive nature of the tax has gained national attention, with Technorati’s Alex Priest calling it  “outrageous and inexplicable in almost any context,” and New York Magazine columnist Nate Freeman even going so far as to suggest that Philadelphia bloggers stop selling advertising on their respective websites so that they may feel the “self-satisfaction of refusing to give the city that hard-earned blog revenue.” While I personally would never urge anyone for any reason to cease participating in the free enterprise system, the sad truth is that Freeman’s advice is financially sound for those affected by the city of Philadelphia’s disgusting shakedown. There is no sense in building even the most miniscule amount of personal wealth only to lose it, and then some, to an unfair and overburdening bureaucracy.

What the public servants” and financial planners inside the paperwork-and-red-tape jungle that is Philadelphia’s city government have done is send a message to its most articulate and socially conscious citizens, “if the IRS deems that your income is too small to stick its hands into, then do not worry, because we will pick up its slack. Why? Because we can, of course! Besides, what are you going to do about it, move? Ha! We did not think so. Just sit back and enjoy our high-tax, high-crime, high-corruption urban utopia, sucker, uh — scratch that — citizen.”

It goes without saying that any and all of the elected officials propagating this monstrosity should be booted out of office come re-election time, but I seriously doubt that will happen. The citizens of Philadelphia have been electing landslide anti-business Democratic majorities to their Board of Councillors for decades, and that is almost certainly not going to change now.

Oh, well. Just another day in leftist paradise, I suppose.

Powered by

About Joseph F. Cotto

  • Arch Conservative

    No one loves to ridicule and deride San Francisco and the kooks that live more than yours truly (I’ve been known to crack a joke or two wishing the San Andreas fault perfectly encircled the city of SF and hope for the “big one that sheer the city right off the california coast sending it forever to float at sea) but if I recall correctly the ban on soft drinks was only for vending machines in city buildings and not in private businesses and I’m OK with that.

    As for the Philadelphia blog tax thing. I think Freeman has it right. Why feed the beats. Another solution may be to set you blog up as a charity, declaring a per4centage of your advertising revenue will be donated to charity. I’m not a tax code expert but this would seemingly be a reasonable way to avoid the tax.

  • Doug Hunter

    It is a nice opportunity for regular people/bloggers to see what businesses face every day from the government. Most individuals and employees are shielded from this and can’t understand why businessmen are so anti-government.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Philadelphia and Tehran – more alike every day.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/alan-kurtz Alan Kurtz

    As usual, Joseph Cotto plays fast and loose with the facts in order to score political points.

    LIE
    “A new ordinance recently went into effect …”

    FACT
    Philadelphia’s Business Privilege Tax is a holdover from the 1950s.

    LIE
    “Any blogger who resides in the City of Brotherly Love and makes even one red cent from his or her website will be forced to purchase an operational license costing $300.”

    FACT
    The cost of a business privilege license is $50 a year or $300 per lifetime, whether the business in question makes a profit or not. No one is “forced” to pay the lifetime fee.

    LIE
    “It is extremely rare for the average blog to sell any more than around $20 worth of advertising space in a given year.”

    FACT
    A year ago at this time, Technorati published its annual State of the Blogosphere report. Methodology included a survey of 2,828 bloggers nationwide, conducted during September 2009 by market research firm Penn, Schoen and Berland, plus Technorati index data and results from search tool provider Lijit.

    Analyzing the findings, Technorati’s Matt Sussman reminded us “that a substantial majority of the blogosphere is essentially hobbyist in nature,” which explains why many blogs are not ad-supported.

    Nevertheless, among bloggers who do profit from advertising, mean annual ad revenue was $42,548. The report also determined that many bloggers exploit related sources of income such as serving as a speaker or panelist at industry events, selling their work to print media, and being paid for reviews or endorsements. Overall, Sussman wrote, “Evaluating positive and negative cash flows, we see that the mean profits for blogs with reported revenues is $57,369.20.”

    Moreover, there was from 2008 to 2009 “a 68% increase in the number blogs with ad tags installed. This indicates to that monetizing blogs is high on the priority list of most publishers.”

    Like so many Blogcritics politics authors, Mr. Cotto is so anxious to go off on an unsubstantiated ideological rant that he cannot be bothered with trivial annoyances such as facts.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Good detective work, Alan. It’s nice to see someone not believing what they read just because it fits their ideology like the usual suspects commenting above you. Too bad Cotto never has the courage to defend his falsehoods.

  • Cannonshop

    OOh,look! Economic Activity! Hurry, We MUST TAX IT!!