Today's latest example? Forcing bloggers to pay the $300 Business Privilege License (BPL).
The idea is actually simple; some bloggers are making cash, and the city sees it as a way to make some quick cash! Originally, I blamed two City Council Members, Bill Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, for this idea. I was wrong, and I do apologize.
No, the fault lies in the fact that the city Department of Revenue decided to make this move, which really doesn't make a lot of sense.
Case in point? In one case, the city demanded a fee from someone for making... $11 from his blog. $11?!
Let me get something straight: The city, despite the fact that they KNOW for a fact that they are owed downright millions from a few people in the city allow them amnesty to pay, knowing they've done it for years. Meanwhile, a few bloggers who make a few dollars off their blogs are forced to pay what can amount to 300 times more than they make, plus penalties and fees... ON $11?!
But, wait, no, here comes out heroes with a plan!!!
In June, City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez unveiled a proposal to reform the city's business privilege tax in an effort to make Philly a more attractive place for small businesses. If their bill passes, bloggers will still have to get a privilege license if their sites are designed to make money, but they would no longer have to pay taxes on their first $100,000 in profit. (If bloggers don't want to fork over $300 for a lifetime license, Green suggests they take the city's $50-a-year plan.)Yeah.... no.
Here's the thing: Yes, without a doubt, there are blogs out there made SPECIFICALLY to make money. In my case, this is not one of those blogs. Not even close. Never made a damn cent off this thing! Ever! In fact, that's the case of 99% of the blogs out there.
So the bill doesn't make any real sense.
OK, let's go on that law, shall we? If you make ANY money, you MUST file for a Business Privilege Tax for $300, pay the City Wage Tax, a business Privilege Tax, AND a Net Profits Tax. Damn. Well, tell that to any kid that opens a lemonade stand. Looks like they need to pay $300 for making $15 off selling lemonade! Oh, what's this! Yes, its a homeless guy on the street and it looks like he just made $10 today to eat! Well, he better have his business license! Can't let the homeless guys get off, can we?
The heart of the bill says that if you make any cash off your blog, you're now stuck paying the BPL. The problem comes in where do you draw the line? What about people who use eBay? Or Etsy? Or Craigslist? It is, really, a slippery-slope because there is no end in sight for where this bullshit can go!
So the other part of this argument is that it limits free speech. Does it?
Let's get this part straight: IT DOES LIMIT FREE EXPRESSION.
What person would want to start a blog who lives in Philly knowing they are now stuck paying a tax if they ever try to make a cent off of it, even if its nothing more than a donate button so they can get food from time to time? You already have outcry from countless bloggers decrying this act!
So you know? To the people who decided it would be a good idea to charge me $300 to EXPRESS MYSELF?
GO FUCK YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!
Photo courtesy of The Penn Group