Sweet new idea out of California: Internet taxes, anyone?

posted at 4:01 pm on March 27, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

California already has one of the highest tax burdens and worst business tax climates in the country, but hey, why not think up a few more convoluted ways the state can take still more money out of the private sector and put it toward the government’s disposal instead? Because that is always the perfect recipe for encouraging economic growth, don’t you know:

A California official is bringing new life to the argument that the Internet — including emails — is an untapped revenue resource that should be taxed to help local economies.

Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak brought up taxing emails during a recent council meeting. He suggested the money collected, which would be part of a wider-reaching Internet tax, could be used in Berkeley’s case to save the local post office.

“There should be something like a bit tax,” he said during the March 5 meeting. “I mean, a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would make, probably, billions of dollars a year.”

Plus, he said, there should be a “very tiny tax on email.”

This idea goes beyond already-controversial proposals to tax e-commerce — like buying used books on Amazon. This would be a tax on data.

“Taxed to help local economies”? Please. More taxes are exactly what won’t help local economies, and this is just a fancy proposal for slapping a stealth tax on everyone and anyone who uses the Internet. Why bother be so complicated about the attempt to bring in still more revenue for the government’s use and go through the bureaucratic trouble of figuring out how to levy that tax? Why not just say you want to raise existing taxes some more and avoid the practical hassle? Would that just be too politically straightforward for the progressive denizens or what?

It’s just one state legislator’s proposal, and thanks to the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act (which expires this year, but Sens. Ayotte and Heller have already proposed legislation to extend it indefinitely), it’s not likely to happen, but good grief. This is exactly the opposite of what states like Louisiana and Nebraska are trying to do to streamline their own tax codes and make them more efficient, competitive, and business-friendly, and it is a terrible idea.


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California is trying become the State of Detroit. They are succeeding.

nobar on March 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

“There should be something like a bit tax,” he said during the March 5 meeting. “I mean, a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would make, probably, billions of dollars a year.”

Taxing bandwidth? Are they insane?! No business will stay in that state if something like that is instituted.

Doughboy on March 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

So, email stamps? Awesome idea.

/will the last one out of cali please turn out the lights?

Ward Cleaver on March 27, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Like my dad said to me:

“If you’re going to be a dumba$$ son, don’t be subtle about it. Go out and show the world what a dumba$$ can be!”

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Taxing bandwidth? Are they insane?! No business will stay in that state if something like that is instituted.

Doughboy on March 27, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Heh. Incoming or outgoing?

Can you imagine the tax for one of those Google server farms?

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Anyone with a lick of sense ought to be getting out of the world’s largest insane asylum.

I mean seriously folks, what else do you need to know?

Get out NOW!

NMRN123 on March 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Tax miles driven, tax number of minutes on cell phones, tax gigabytes, tax the number of minutes watching TV, tax how often you open the refrigerator door…you can propose a tax on just about anything.

But getting it passed? Only in California…

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

But wait you guys didn’t hear the really good part…….taxpayers get absolutely nothing in return.

antipc on March 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Can you imagine the tax for one of those Google server farms?

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Google would learn to love conservatism real quick.

The Rogue Tomato on March 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Heh. Incoming or outgoing?

Can you imagine the tax for one of those Google server farms?

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

The conspiracy theorist in me is telling me that Hollywood is bankrolling this idea because it’ll kill off bittorrent.

Doughboy on March 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM

They also need to confiscate every single person’s property as they exit the state.
Bcs that isn’t fair. They have a DUTY to pay their fair share of the debt!
YEARG!

Badger40 on March 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM

The really simple way to stop all this unfair internet commerce is to nationalize the internet.

Badger40 on March 27, 2013 at 4:12 PM

They are fast running out of other peoples money with which to play and pay into the outrageous state government workers unions retirement funds and so are grasping at every conceivable tax scheme they can think of.

/will the last one out of cali please turn out the lights?

I’m afraid the lights will have been turned off long before the last one out……along with water, gas, and just about everything else.

Leftist leadership is made up of devolutionists, doing their finest to return people to prehistoric levels of existence. Excluding themselves, of course.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Anyone with a lick of sense ought to be getting out of the world’s largest insane asylum.

I mean seriously folks, what else do you need to know?

Get out NOW!

NMRN123 on March 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

I did 7 years ago…what a great move. I am paying a mortgage on a 3,000+ square foot home for the money I am saving on taxes.
Car insurance? 1/2, homeowners? 1/2, house value 1/3 the cost of California.
And what am I stuck with? 84 degree water in the summer, great fishing, Blue Ridge mountains and great fishing, great weather, great people, did I mention great fishing? Or hunting? Camping? And no traffic?
NC, not a bad state…

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Leftist leadership is made up of devolutionists, doing their finest to return people to prehistoric levels of existence. Excluding themselves, of course.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:13 PM

No, with 17% of the nations economy, the feds will never let them sink…

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

If I were an ISP, I’d threaten to drop coverage. Nothing would wake up Kalifornicans faster than being denied access to porn.

nobar on March 27, 2013 at 4:15 PM

They also need to confiscate every single person’s property as they exit the state.

Heck, leaving the state won’t be the criteria. Simply living here with any valuable assets will be grounds for confiscation to finance the states “needs”.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Heh. Incoming or outgoing?

Can you imagine the tax for one of those Google server farms?

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

You don’t get it…they will be exempt, just the “people” will pay. And that means middle class because the “lower” income, it would be insulting to have them pay, they can’t afford it and they need it to “find jobs”.

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:16 PM

As an ex-Californian, I sit here in Texas and laugh.

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:17 PM

No, with 17% of the nations economy, the feds will never let them sink…

That is what Sacramento is hoping for.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:17 PM

No, with 17% of the nations economy, the feds will never let them sink…

What does the PRC have invested in CA? It may have some influence too.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

As an ex-Californian, I sit here in Texas and laugh.

As I sit here in Los Angeles and cry with envy.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

N. Korea has a fix for this.

tom daschle concerned on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Why not just say you want to raise existing taxes some more and avoid the practical hassle?

Because raising taxes in this manner politicians can attempt to shield themselves from the negative consequences of raising taxes. When ISPs raise rates to cover the new tax who do you think is blamed in a liberal media gone wild?

NotCoach on March 27, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Yeah. Tax Google. Tax Yahoo. Tax FaceBook. By the byte.

J_Crater on March 27, 2013 at 4:20 PM

As I sit here in Los Angeles and cry with envy.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Get out while you can.

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Time for a border fence.

Around California.

CurtZHP on March 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Dunno – they’ve got the Flush Tax next door in the People’s Republik of Maryland…

affenhauer on March 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Soon they’ll tax spit and taking…oh, well.

Leftards are retarded thugs.

May they all suffocate from the destructive ideas. May all the fools who support them suffocate from their laws.

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Berkeley City Councilman

Says it all.

GarandFan on March 27, 2013 at 4:24 PM

As I sit here in Los Angeles and cry with envy.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Get out while you can.

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Before they implement a getting the Fluke out of Dodge tax anyways.

NotCoach on March 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM

The California model is not sustainable. They can only whistle past the graveyard and keep trying to pick people’s pockets for so long. But pretty soon a bigger majority of people are going to start walking another way.

California is only maintaining their percentage of the US economy due to sheer land mass and the logistical challenges of moving from the state. But as more and more people find a reason, their economy will shrink further and not be a factor.

There is simply not enough money to sustain their utopian dreams unabated. Someone should put on their big-boy pants and let the people know.

Marcus Traianus on March 27, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Idiot politician.

How do you find out how much a email a person is sending or receiving? I have a POP3 account, but can easily divert that to a web based email page that is totally untraceable.

How much comes from/to my yahoo, gmail, hotmail, or whatever account?

Maybe this f**ing moron want to tax my Hayes 1200 baud modem?

kurtzz3 on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

A friend from the Army was stationed in Cali for a few years and after moving to another state he got a tax bill based on what he would have paid if Cali had been his home of record.They were serious and so was he when he put it in the shredder.

docflash on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

You know the libs in the US Senate will jump all over this.

But then we get the government we deserve.

Iblis on March 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM

how about a tax on autos to save the buggy whip makers too?

A Balrog of Morgoth on March 27, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Dunno – they’ve got the Flush Tax next door in the People’s Republik of Maryland…

affenhauer on March 27, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Oh no…it’s become a foolish “tax race”…

When I was there, they taxed you extra if you used too much water…so people cut back and they had to raise the rates because not enough water was being bought…never occurred for them to layoff or change their business ways…tax, tax, tax…

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Our own Government is following California, about ten percent of the population works for the Government or about three point three million. The corruption is so bad on both sides it will be almost impossible to cleanse it. 1300 Federal agencies, 23,000 staff for Congress and congress owns the check book of the Country and to hear our Congress blaming everything on anything but themselves tells us it is way out of control and a one man army won’t change it.

mixplix on March 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM

So g… never mind.

Midas on March 27, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Maybe this f**ing moron want to tax my Hayes 1200 baud modem?

kurtzz3 on March 27, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Good idea, thanks…they don’t have to find a way…the threat is what they want, and the power of the threat. Companies will role over and give them whatever info they want.

right2bright on March 27, 2013 at 4:32 PM

How do you find out how much a email a person is sending or receiving? I have a POP3 account, but can easily divert that to a web based email page that is totally untraceable.

It may take awhile, if it is ever implemented. First, Sacramento has to commission a feasibility study for several million dollars, hiring a close crony or family member of a Sacramento pol, then a tracking software program must be acquired, again for millions paid to a crony or family member, which, won’t work as planned and be scrapped, at which point California will be completely bankrupt so when it comes down to it, what difference does it make.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:33 PM

We are already taxed on it. What do they think all the taxes on utilities needed to have access to the internet are?

Blake on March 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Because that is always the perfect recipe for encouraging economic growth, don’t you know.

Shame on you, Erika. The delusion of such magnitude is a grave mental illness, and as such should be pitied, not mocked.

Archivarix on March 27, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Why be so sneaky…just confiscate 40% of everyone’s bank accounts, IRA’s, 401k’s and checking accounts…California, you’ve been Cypressed!!!…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2013 at 4:39 PM

I can’t believe California hasn’t come up with a way to charge taxes *on* taxes.

gregbert on March 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

California, you’ve been Cypressed!!!…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2013 at 4:39 PM

I am not much of a grammar Nazi but this particular misspelling is getting on my nerves because it is literally omnipresent. “Cypress” is a tree. The country is “Cyprus”.

Archivarix on March 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

California State Tax Bill 2010: $10,522
Texas State Tax Bill 2011: $0.00

California Property Taxes 2010: $9,200 (2700 s.f. house SF Bay Area)
Texas Property Taxes 2011: $6,175 (2600 s.f. house on 3 acres in New Braunfels, TX)

PGE Bill in California, June 2010: $1325
PEC Electric Bill in Texas, June 2011: $175

General Foods International Coffee (my wife lives on the stuff) in California at Raley’s Supermarket: $5.25
General Foods International Coffee HEB in Texas: $2.75

I could go on ad nauseum, but nauseum would set in over how screwed I was living in California all those years.

NOMOBO on March 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

That bear on the flag needs to be changed to a weasel…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM

will the last one out of cali please bring the flag turn out the lights?

Who can afford lights?

Akzed on March 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM

We are already taxed on it. What do they think all the taxes on utilities needed to have access to the internet are?

Not enough.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:42 PM

California State Tax Bill 2010: $10,522

Sorry. California State Tax Bill in 2010 was $20,522

NOMOBO on March 27, 2013 at 4:43 PM

Heh. Incoming or outgoing?

Can you imagine the tax for one of those Google server farms?

BacaDog on March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Even the proggies at Google have caught on and they are building new server farms outside of California where energy is cheaper and there is less government bureaucracy.

slickwillie2001 on March 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM

I am not much of a grammar Nazi but this particular misspelling is getting on my nerves because it is literally omnipresent. “Cypress” is a tree. The country is “Cyprus”.

Archivarix on March 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Ok…Ok…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2013 at 4:45 PM

This could cause a stampede east, thereby causing both North and South America to capsize.

WhatSlushfund on March 27, 2013 at 4:47 PM

“Cypress” is a tree. The country is “Cyprus”.

Cypress is also the name of a Southern California city. In which case, if the idiots in Sacramento get their way, its residents could soon be “Californiaed”.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 4:51 PM

I could go on ad nauseum, but nauseum would set in over how screwed I was living in California all those years.

NOMOBO on March 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

You forgot Gasoline. I went by Brookshires this afternoon on the way to the Post Office and it was $3.35.9/10. And, they’ll give me another 20 cents a gallon off for the 200 bonus points I have racked up with them.

California still has to be around $4.50 or so.

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Given that
1) most users have *free* email accounts they use, and
2) vast numbers of server farms are in CA,
this has nail-in-the-coffin written all over it.

I *do* have an email account through my ISP, but I would never send another email through it if someone decided to tax it. I have gobs of free email accounts. Who’s going to pay the taxes on them? Yahoo? Google? Not likely!

And, given how many ISP/web servers are located in CA, it would reach far beyond CA residents – bringing up federal involvement. Even the liberals in Congress could see the tar all over this baby*, and would smother it in a heartbeat.

*Yes, that’s a Song of the South reference.

GWB on March 27, 2013 at 4:58 PM

What a wonderful way to get people to create another medium for communications. Like texting or Facebook or … These clowns would never keep up.

Bear on March 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Just so you know , Virginia already taxes internet purchases through the consumer use tax. If the purchase is not charged sales tax of some kind, you must pay it at year end on your tax return as a use tax, at a rate of 5% for non-food transactions, and 4% for food transactions.

http://www.tax.virginia.gov/taxforms/Individual/Income%20Tax/2010/CU-7%20and%20Instructions.pdf

pendell2 on March 27, 2013 at 5:01 PM

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Yeah, I forgot that one. But I spend about the same dollar amount for gas in Texas as in California. But I drive about 25% farther every day here in Texas.

NOMOBO on March 27, 2013 at 5:02 PM

about ten percent of the population works for the Government or about three point three million.

mixplix on March 27, 2013 at 4:29 PM

If you mean the national government, that would be about 1%, not 10% (3 of 300 million).

GWB on March 27, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Get out while you can.

trigon on March 27, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Before they implement a getting the Fluke out of Dodge tax anyways.

Alas, not quite in a position to do that, yet. Hope to last until Spring 2016 when we expect to retire. If the state and/or nation hasn’t completely collapsed by then. Have inlaws, lifelong Californians, who relocated to Allen, TX, near Dallas and now love living there. That gives my wife and I some more incentive to relocate there as well.

hawkeye54 on March 27, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Not to worry.

In the time it takes to read this thread, the techies in Silicon Valley will have already figured out a way around the idiots in Sacramento.

MichaelGabriel on March 27, 2013 at 5:11 PM

These liberals are like the barbarians of ancient times: Never contributing anything, but being skilled only at looting and destroying what better people than themselves have created. They are a plague on civilization.

Socratease on March 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM

“If it moves…”

ncjetsfan on March 27, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Is it any wonder that the flag of California has the Chinese communist red star on it as well as the Russian bear symbol?!
Must be their idols.

Sterling Holobyte on March 27, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Tax the everliving cr@p out of the internet for all I care.

I would love to get rid of my cell phone, it hardly even works as a phone any more anyway.

Tax, tax, tax, tax, tax. Give the Socialist Dims every single tax hike they want, is what I say.

And then when the masses march on Washington, let ‘em burn that m’er f’er down! Pass the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, I’m ready for some s’mores!

Meople on March 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

California….doubling down on stupid time after time again!

ProfShadow on March 27, 2013 at 6:00 PM

The mental disease known as lunatic-left d-cRAT socialist extremism DEMANDS that “If it exists, it MUST be taxed, regulated, controlled and totally and completely subject to the will and whim of BIG GOVERNMENT bureaucrats.”

TeaPartyNation on March 27, 2013 at 6:09 PM

I need to get out of this state, but it’s so hard to leave.

Decoski on March 27, 2013 at 6:43 PM

But wait you guys didn’t hear the really good part…….taxpayers get absolutely nothing in return.

antipc on March 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.

claudius on March 27, 2013 at 7:09 PM

CA is trying to make it impossible to operate a warehouse within that state. They are pushing a really stretched interpretation of the law in order to claim that a Drop-Shipper is the same as a Retailer: this interpretation is such a transparent scam designed to work around law already settled by two Supreme Court rulings that there is no way it would survive a US Supreme Court challenge: it would probably get thrown out.

Within a year or two, look for fire sales on commercial real estate which has been used as a CA-based warehouse.

And when more businesses figure out that both shipping costs and business costs are much lower in Nevada, there will be a gigantic sucking sound as the formerly CA jobs move east…taking the jobs with them.

Lesson: Never own property in a state where you address the Governor as “moonbeam”!

landlines on March 27, 2013 at 7:47 PM

The sublime irony of such a retrograde idea regarding personal computing coming from a guy named Wozniak…

aawlberninF350 on March 27, 2013 at 8:11 PM

If you are going to tax me, at least provide some benefits associated with the tax…

A virus free internet would be nice.

unclesmrgol on March 27, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Somebody has to pay for that county commissioners $400,000 annual pension, that probably will cost $8-10 million over the long haul for this lady’s years of hard work.

Somebody has to pay.

FlaMurph on March 28, 2013 at 12:41 AM

It’s stuff like this that makes me glad to be from the Midwest.

Mr. Prodigy on March 28, 2013 at 8:42 AM

Please tell me that mental midget is not related to Steve.

PJ Emeritus on March 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM

With Love,
From Berkeley.

What a shocka.

TimBuk3 on March 28, 2013 at 9:22 AM

What a wonderful way to get people to create another medium for communications. Like texting or Facebook or … These clowns would never keep up.
Bear on March 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM

May bring back the art of letter writing. You know, with real stationery and pens and stamps? Written with you hand? And you already pay a “tax” when you buy a stamp. Might even bring in enough revenue to save The Post Office in Berkeley!

March Hare on March 28, 2013 at 11:19 AM