Monday, August 23, 2010

Philadelphia Demands Bloggers Purchase $300 License

In an obvious attemtp to stifle free speech the Philadelphia City Paper is reporting a city local blogger received a notice demanding she pay a $300 business privilege license due to her blog.

In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.

"The real kick in the pants is that I don't even have a full-time job, so for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous," Bess says.

It would be one thing if Bess' website were, well, an actual business, or if the amount of money the city wanted didn't outpace her earnings six-fold. Sure, the city has its rules; and yes, cash-strapped cities can't very well ignore potential sources of income. But at the same time, there must be some room for discretion and common sense.

When Bess pressed her case to officials with the city's now-closed tax amnesty program, she says, "I was told to hire an accountant."

She's not alone. After dutifully reporting even the smallest profits on their tax filings this year, a number — though no one knows exactly what that number is — of Philadelphia bloggers were dispatched letters informing them that they owe $300 for a privilege license, plus taxes on any profits they made.

Even if, as with Sean Barry, that profit is $11 over two years.

With all the recent problems over their Philadelphia Housing Authority director facing foreclosure while receiving a $300,000 per year salary and staff that gets a 6 figure salary while paying subsidized rent of $654.00 per month one would think Philadephia City Council would focus on straigtening out its own mess first.

Don't forget the fiasco with their DROP Program. DROP, which stands for Deferred Retirement Option Plan, lets employees pick a retirement date up to four years in the future. That decision freezes employees' pension benefits, but they start accumulating the payments immediately in an account that pays 4.5 percent interest while they continue working. When they retire, they get the amount in the account and start collecting their monthly pensions. Estimates state the program has cost Philadelphia $258 million over the last ten years.

I guess that is why they need $300.00 from bloggers.

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