Did Philadelphia Lose Its Mind?

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Or Is It The Smartest City in the U.S.?

We're not the kind of group to get all political, but news this morning came to us that Philadelphia is requiring bloggers pay to write on the Internet. We're interested in what Website Magazine readers have to say.

According to Philly's City Paper, the city does not stop there: In addition to the $300 for the license to write on the World Wide Web, bloggers must pay city wage taxes, business privilege taxes and taxes on any net profits -- on top of state and federal taxes.

Philadelphia requires privilege licenses for any business engaged in any "activity for profit," said tax attorney Michael Mandale of Center City law firm Mandale Kaufmann on CityPaper.net. This applies "whether or not they earned a profit during the preceding year," he added.

This means that even if your weblog or website only gets a few unique visitors a day, as long as there is a potential for it to be lucrative, you're now in the tax sights of the cit of Philly.

In June of this year (2010), Philadelphia city council members 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.

As you might imagine, those in the city of Brotherly Love aren't necessarily pleased. An NBC Philadelphia poll indicates that 85% are furious about the matter. But what about you; how would you respond if your city or town were to enact such a measure?

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12 comments

ConnorC 08-24-2010 10:41 AM

Are they crazy? What the hell! I would be furious as well if I lived in that city. Thankfully I do not.

NickK 08-24-2010 10:43 AM

Yes, I think this is a great idea.  It would weed out the real bloggers from the crap.  Too many bloggers out the claiming to be real legit journalists and if they had a license and displayed on their site that they are licensed, then we'd know the real from the junk.

AmandaL 08-24-2010 12:18 PM

Well, first of all, that's crazy. What's next...no website of any kind without a license? And I understand the point that there are a lot of bloggers who write junk, but making them get a license won't stop that or make them legitimate. There are a lot of "legitimate" journalists who write horrible things every day. Lies, omissions of truth, one-sided topics...and they work for huge, established publications.

Ina Stanley 08-24-2010 1:59 PM

This is just ridiculous. Blogging is a free activity, and some use it just to speak their minds and discuss ideas, theories and opinions with others. Not all bloggers do it for profit.

There isn't a need to weed out the good bloggers from the bad because like many things that take creativity and opinion into account, there's no right or wrong way (as long as what you're doing isn't illegal). If you don't feel that a blog is worth your time, don't read it. It's as simple as that. But that doesn't mean others won't find the content interesting or worth their time.

And if someone has already taken the steps to register as a business with the proper licenses etc. required by the state and federal gov. I don't think they should be put through the ringer because the City is looking for more ways to make money. Entrepreneurship and small business is what has always driven this economy, but the more complicated and expensive you make it for businesses and individuals to register and make money, the less those driving factors will be able to contribute to the rebuilding of the economy.

As entrepreneurs and especially small businesses, we get hit with enough taxes and there isn't enough help to make owning a business as attractive as it used to be. I can't imagine this ploy of theirs will go over well, and they might actually do their city more harm than good in terms of attracting small businesses. I have several blogs, and already pay the appropriate taxes for the amount of income they make. I'd be furious to have to pay more even though I'm not necessarily earning more.

This move just seems desperate and greedy. I can't see it doing much good, but that's just me....

MattG 08-24-2010 2:49 PM

Philadelphia has the most stupid leadership in the country.  Way to tax everyone out of the city Philadelphia.  They have driven many businesses out of the city with their tax structure.  

MaryF 08-24-2010 2:51 PM

Time to vote with my feet and leave....

PhilC 08-24-2010 4:43 PM

Ever see the movie 12 Monkeys with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis. In it was a depiction of the Philadelphia City Hall in 2035 after a deadly virus wiped out most of the population. This premonitory vision will come to pass but the virus that has doomed the city is TAXES!

As a former resident of the Philadelphia I have to say Philly has created a most undesirable environment for business. They use taxes to support a bloated government, underwrite sweetheart deals with select BIG BUSINESS and drive the rest out of the city. Paying city wage tax is an insult. One day the mayor and city council will turn around and find the only residents left are either city employees or on welfare, just like the scene I described.

Way to go Philadelphia!

BrettH 08-24-2010 6:10 PM

yes, philly is nuts.  time to move to the burbs...

John Waddell 08-24-2010 6:57 PM

There is a big difference between issuing a press release and collecting a tax!  

Austin Gym 08-24-2010 7:24 PM

Well, it's the new era of big government.

Those that vote for representatives and a president that make every effort to expand the role of government in our lives have nothing to complain about.

AlanD 08-25-2010 8:25 AM

Well it's a great way to get rid of technology in Filthydelphia. I wonder what our founding fathers would think of the new regime?

L. Mohan Arun 10-17-2010 9:22 AM

They have lost their minds. Many people maintain blogs not because they want to earn money from it but they treat their blogs as communication media to build their personal branding, build relationships with their readers encouraging reader engagement and stimulating heathy discussion. Considering the nature of the world wide web, blogs can be read by any one in the world and it serves as an educational and information dissipation medium. It cannot be treated akin to a business whose motive is to make profit. Taxing bloggers just because they blog is absurd. What next? Tax all free speech just because it happens to be on a digital medium?

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