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New York Wants To Tax Internet Downloads

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the bits-for-bucks dept.

Politics 485

An anonymous reader writes "NY is considering taxing 'video and music' downloads to offset a burgeoning budget deficit." How long before we all have meters on our routers? This version is just a 4% tax on movies and songs downloaded from services like iTunes, but I'm sure if they could figure out a bit tax, they would.

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485 comments

Old news is old (4, Informative)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873461)

This is nothing new; they've been talking about this for months, maybe over a year. It's caused issues with Amazon in the past, if I remember right.

Re:Old news is old (5, Informative)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873497)

Most online retailers hate New York because we have horrible taxes, I believe NewEgg stopped requiring users to pay the tax in NY which caused them some issues. This will only exacerbate the intertube hatred of NY

Re:Old news is old (5, Insightful)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873595)

*sigh* I agree...BUT: Why should there be a tax on Internet traffic for any reason? I mean a true, cogent reason? New York has contributed nothing so why should it profit from that which it has contributed nothing to? Secondly it offers no protectionism. This is taxation without representation. Thirdly how much tax dollars is wasted in New York and given to the rich? Fourth what is the purpose of a Federal Tax deduction if it's going to be added to state and local taxes? Fifth if New York is going to raise taxes then it shouldn't get any bailout money because it contradicts what the Federal Government is doing?

There needs to be correspondence between what the Fed does and State and Local Governments are doing in order for the stimulus to work. We can't pull two different directions. Taxing downloads is an invasion of privacy anyway. It's not about pr0n it's about taxation without representation. The reality is tax money as well as tax deductions are given to corporations for the purposes of conventions centers and etc... which does nothing for the areas except deplete taxes for the purpose of benefiting rich corporations. They claim to make jobs, however the jobs do not pay a living wage and further taxes the economy through social programs.

Enough is enough!

=Smidge=

OT: Your comment? (0)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873691)

This seems to be a copy-paste of the comment on the article. Did you make that one as well?

Re:Old news is old (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873699)

New York has contributed nothing so why should it profit from that which it has contributed nothing to?

Nonsense. New York has given us Credit Default Swaps.

Re:Old news is old (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26874063)

This is taxation without representation.

I beg to differ: This is taxation by our representation, at least for those in New York. Please refrain from hyperbole.

Now, whether or not the entire NY State Congress should be first against the wall when the revolution comes is another matter entirely *grin*.

Re:Old news is old (5, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873839)

Most online retailers hate New York because we have horrible taxes, I believe NewEgg stopped requiring users to pay the tax in NY which caused them some issues. This will only exacerbate the intertube hatred of NY

You wouldn't think that a state could tax interstate trade, but if NewEgg (which appears to operate out of California) really did experience "issues" then I have a solution to that. Nothing would get the attention of the state of New York quite like every out-of-state online retailer refusing to sell to any NY resident or to ship items to a NY address. When customers complain, refer them to the problems NewEgg experienced and encourage them to take it up with the NY state legislature. The point is to make this an utter failure. That's definitely in our interests because if NY does this successfully, you can count on other states following suit.

If this happened, I doubt it would have to happen more than once to put an end to this sort of BS. Just imagine the precedent it would set.

Re:Old news is old (5, Informative)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873995)

Well, the precedent would last until some retailer sued the state in federal court on the exact grounds you've brought up - regulation of interstate commerce is a matter explicitly reserved by the federal government.

Re:Old news is old (5, Informative)

FireStormZ (1315639) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874051)

"You wouldn't think that a state could tax interstate trade"

A little known fact is that the 'sales tax' is more a 'use tax'. If someone in NY drives to PA to by cloths and save the tax money they are legally required to pay NY taxes on it (few actually do this). This is why NY (outside of the City) is dying, its not just Buffalo but everywhere except Albany (seat of state government) is hurting. Taxes in NY are just way to high for business to start setting up shop and competing with neighboring states.

Hey, Atlas... (2, Interesting)

kylben (1008989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874133)

Nothing would get the attention of the state of New York quite like every out-of-state online retailer refusing to sell to any NY resident or to ship items to a NY address.

*shrug*

Re:Old news is old (4, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873627)

They've been talking about it for a while, but it's different than the amazon tax. Amazon (and other mail order/internet stores) don't collect sales tax if they don't have a physical presence in the state. New York wanted to reclassify affiliate programs so that Amazon (and anyone else with an affiliate in New York) would need to collect NY state sales tax.

Re:Old news is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873935)

But this is /. and we are a bit slow on the uptake.

Re:Old news is old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873993)

ARGGGGGGG!!!!!!!

Would you retarded fucking dickheads stop it with the fucking stupid "X y is X". Really.

Just fucking stop it.

Now.

Re:Old news is old (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874095)

Can we group wish that New York snap off and sink into the sea?
        Any excuse will do when it comes to restricting the free flow of communications.

The upside (4, Insightful)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873471)

The upside of them metering one's bandwidth use would be that many people would start taking action over their windows zombie box.

Re:The upside (1)

fit4130 (858077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873501)

I foresee old people becoming frightened when they become aware that their PC has "become a zombie."

Re:The upside (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873659)

Since 99% of home users don't understand what is going on, all it would mean is more computers would be going to the shop for simple cleanings.

Interesting. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873751)

If more boxes are going to the shop to be cleaned, that means those shops would be hiring more cleaning techs. At least in theory.

Not to mention the sales tax on the cleaning service.

So, all in all, this just MIGHT help their local economy.

Re:Interesting. (3, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874041)

So, all in all, this just MIGHT help their local economy.

Helping local economies is about finding efficiencies and creating value where there wasn't previously. If cleaning people's computers ultimately saved them more time than the cost offset, then cleaning people's machines would help the local economy. My suspicion is that it would ultimately just be a drain... a tax on the uneducated that pays out to Best Buy.

Re:The upside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873933)

And how is that not "taking action"?

Re:The upside (2, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874015)

More likely, we'd see more computers going to the landfills, as users realize that its almost as cheap to purchase a new computer as to have the one you own serviced.

The Tax Man Cometh (3, Insightful)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873479)

New York taxes everything, a lot of it has to do with the maintenance of New York City. They get subsidies from all sorts of things, taxes, bus fares, chances are if you buy something in New York, some of that money goes to New York City. In fact, even living in New York City is taxed.

Re:The Tax Man Cometh (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873679)

In NYC's defense, you get taxed for breathing in a lot of cities. My town has a school tax for those slimy subjects who think they can get out of paying property tax by renting.

Re:The Tax Man Cometh (3, Insightful)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873821)

that's insane. renters already pay property taxes every month. do they think that because the property tax bill is addressed to the landlord that they won't pass it on the the renters?

It's about taxes. Logic is actively opposed. (4, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873955)

Think about it for a moment. We have enough processing power that we can tie taxes to specific projects at the fraction of a cent level.

Why not let the voters vote for projects AND the taxes to fund them? If they want another school, then they get a property tax increase of $3.15 on all property in area X.

If they want to fill in the pot holes on 1st Avenue then they increase the sales tax by 0.013%. And when the project is finished, the tax is repealed.

Let the people see EXACTLY what they're spending the money on.

If someone runs for office claiming to want to "cut taxes" then let them specify EXACTLY what projects will be cut and the people can see how much they'll be saving.

Re:It's about taxes. Logic is actively opposed. (5, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874117)

the tax is repealed.

Uh huh.
Just like every other "temporary" tax has been repealed.

Re:It's about taxes. Logic is actively opposed. (2)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874153)

If this were to happen, civilisation would crumble. All the money would go to cat & dog homes, and putting problems out of sight & out of mind. No one would every choose to pay for anything that involved digging up roads, for instance, no matter how much money it would save in the long run.

Great for increasing piracy (5, Insightful)

kseise (1012927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873481)

No tax on torrents? Cool! Bye Bye iTunes.

Re:Great for increasing piracy (1)

fit4130 (858077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873513)

Exactly, I doubt the proposed tax wouldn't bring in the revenue that they would want. Hopefully they won't turn to taxing total bandwidth.

Re:Great for increasing piracy (2, Insightful)

sabs (255763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873907)

You do realize we already pay a tax for bandwidth.
Look at your internet bill.

Not a tax. (3, Insightful)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874057)

You do realize we already pay a tax for bandwidth. Look at your internet bill.

Really? Because I thought it all just went to the ISP, which used it to upgrade their infrastructure^W^W^W hand out golden parachutes.

Re:Great for increasing piracy (0)

psyh103 (1479045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873683)

No tax on torrents? Cool! Bye Bye iTunes.

Yes, downloading files with tourents is possible free of charge, but you must unload constantly the files in a net from your PC, to be in a position to use a downloading.

Re:Great for increasing piracy (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873737)

I foresee a new breed of download revenue agents. This would inspire a group of people to increase the performance of the Internet connections to stay ahead. Soon after the pirates would compete, and 20 years later, Geek NASCAR!

Re:Great for increasing piracy (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873879)

No tax on torrents? Cool! Bye Bye iTunes.

That might make torrents a lot more dangerous for NY residents. Now, instead of being the civil tort of copyright infringement, it could be criminal tax evasion. I'm definitely not a lawyer so this is just my unqualified opinion, but this is exactly the sort of thing I've come to expect from government.

Re:Great for increasing piracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873945)

As long as you declare the value of your torrents and pay the tax accordingly you're fine. That $1000 Adobe suite is now only $40.

No problem for me (5, Funny)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873491)

I would happily forward 4% of the bits that comes into my router to the NY city hall if that can help them balance their budget.

Re:No problem for me (1)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873531)

Yeah but then your md5/sha1 hashes will never verify...

Re:No problem for me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873685)

I wish your mother had listened to me and gotten the abortion.

Hey look Cisco! (2, Funny)

mujadaddy (1238164) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874119)

You have your very own troll! Mean little cuss, too...

How the states can get their sales taxes (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873509)

The federal government could help the states by setting up an official repository of rates and an official reporting system standard for all 50 states [codemonkeyramblings.com] . Just get the states to report their rates to the IRS, and have the IRS mandate a single, unified standard method of reporting sales taxes to all state governments on an "either you implement this, or you don't collect it" basis.

Re:How the states can get their sales taxes (2, Interesting)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873831)

It would be nice if there was a single federal e-form with a box per state. What we will likely get is a complex mess that requires subscribing to a service for thousands a month. What a better way to kill small businesses.

Re:How the states can get their sales taxes (1)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873869)

At least in Ohio, sales tax varies from county to county and city to city. A "box per state" is nowhere near enough.

Re:How the states can get their sales taxes (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874147)

City-wide local sales tax was implemented because it is easy to track that sort of thing in meatspace. Why not do it on a block-by-block basis? Because it isn't practical.

In the larger world of the internet, city by city taxes just isn't practical. Mandate this, and move on.

Re:How the states can get their sales taxes (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873959)

It would be nice if there was a single federal e-form with a box per state.

Don't worry, with having to pay for the bail out and sundry little extra added expenses, you will soon see a simplified 1040 form:

1. How much money did you make?
2. Give it to us.

No need for complex calculations.

what about counties, cities, townships, etc. taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873851)

There are thousands upon thousands of those which will want to collect "their" sales taxes too. And if you think that's irrelevant to the article at hand, you should to realize that although New York State is facing a shortage between their projected tax receipts and the level their budget was designed to expect the difference is nowhere near (on a percentage scale) what New York City is facing.

I want to see a provision in the stimulus package (5, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873527)

. . . that forces states to pay back the money they receive from the Federal government, and puts a harsh salary and compensation cap on politicians in those states who elect to take Federal bailout funds. The likes of California and New York clearly have no concept of what it means to "spend less," and current taxpayers are fleeing by the tens of thousands, causing them to create asinine taxes like the one in TFA and causing even more people and companies to head to more tax-friendly states. A government should be forced to plan its finances like a responsible household, taking into consideration risk, debt and spending just like the rest of us have to in reality land. After all, it's our money they're spending. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

Re:I want to see a provision in the stimulus packa (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873841)

If California and New York got as many federal dollars back as they pay in federal taxes, they would have a surplus. They're not irresponsible, they just don't have enough money to pay their bills and the bills of everyone else, too.

It's true. Check out the numbers.

Why is this so hard to comprehend? (2, Informative)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873883)

Because it is the frickin' Government, a government that is elected by people who now pay less and less tax. If you election strategy is to offer +50% of the electorate more services at less taxes, then you have to soak everyone else and then claim they will take it all away when election time comes.

Re:I want to see a provision in the stimulus packa (1)

FireIron (838223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874029)

A government should be forced to plan its finances like a responsible household, taking into consideration risk, debt and spending just like the rest of us have to in reality land. After all, it's our money they're spending. Why is this so hard to comprehend?

Because it's provably wrong, impossible, and stupid, all at once.

Look: state spending (primarily health care and education) rises and falls according to population trends, while revenue from taxes rises and falls according to state GDP. Once population starts growing faster than GDP, the state starts falling further and further behind the revenue curve, with no way out except to borrow like crazy and increase the mill rate on taxes (both of which NYS has done to death already).

Slashing spending on health care and education kills people, kills jobs and sacrifices the future, at a time when we should be spending more on these things, not less (but NYS is trying this too, thanks Gov. Paterson).

Re:I want to see a provision in the stimulus packa (5, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874163)

That's funny . . . California lost 144,000 people between July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008, and New York lost 126,000 [boston.com] during the same period. Both states' populations are shrinking, not growing. According to you, state spending should be falling, but both states are tens of billions in the hole and scrambling to come up with new taxes to make up for the revenue they're losing from the people who left and continue to leave for more tax-friendly states. You can spin it all you want, but people and companies are getting the hell out of CA and the Northeast, and the primary reasons are high taxes and high cost of living. Increasing spending (which requires higher taxes on the poor souls who choose to stay when you have a negative population growth) will only make people leave faster.

Re:I want to see a provision in the stimulus packa (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874033)

taxpayers don't realise that everything comes with a price tag. The infra structure provided in those two states greatly exceeds the proporcional increase in one's tax pay. basically, if you want to live in a city that has more job opportunities, higher GP per capita, culture and entertainment for the masses, better highways, subway systems, metropolitan trains, nightlife, health system, progressive education (creationism? really?), that normally comes with a price tag.

I believe that provision is in the bill (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874049)

right next to the part where Congress holds themselves to account.

Honestly, everything you attributed to NY and California is attributable to the Federal Government. Worse, they Feds have no restraint whereas states do. The Feds aren't even bothering to try and balance the budget.

Face it, through years of manipulation Congressmen have managed to lay the blame for all things at the feet of people who have money while themselves spending money they don't have.

Congressmen vilify the businessman who sends his kids to private school, flies private jets, and vacations overseas, all the while doing the same thing on our dime. Congress chides the business for laying off people, losing money, or asking for money, all the while doing the same thing.

Look, the majority has spoken, they want all they can get from those who make money while there is still some to get.
 

Re:I believe that provision is in the bill (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874127)

Face it, through years of manipulation Congressmen have managed to lay the blame for all things at the feet of people who have money while themselves spending money they don't have.

Congressmen vilify the businessman who sends his kids to private school, flies private jets, and vacations overseas, all the while doing the same thing on our dime.

Uhh....huh? I have never understood the divorce from reality on slashdot when it comes to politics. We have had EIGHT YEARS of congressmen in control who think being wealthy is a sign of supreme virtue. Anyone who points out that extreme disparity in wealth might not be a good thing is instantly vilified as a communist. Your point of view has been the majority one for years, and it has run this country into the ground. How dare you suddenly pretend to be a persecuted minority.

Re:I want to see a provision in the stimulus packa (3, Informative)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874053)

New York and California pay more taxes to the fed than they receive back. You should be complaining about New Mexico, Mississippi or Alaska. http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/266.html [taxfoundation.org]

Isn't there another way? (1)

KanshuShintai (694567) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873529)

Why does no one think to offset budget deficits but spending money more responsibly? That's what they used to do, right?

Re:Isn't there another way? (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874089)

Why does no one think to offset budget deficits but spending money more responsibly? That's what they used to do, right?

No one does this? What parallel universe do you live in? Everybody running for office says that. They have a federal agency, the GAO, whose SOLE purpose is to monitor the federal budget. Do you just not read the paper or watch the news or listen to any sort of political discourse?

Grrrr (5, Insightful)

LatencyKills (1213908) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873545)

I'm sick of the attitude "we've got stuff to pay for and we need to figure out how to raise revenue to do it" regardless of how they choose to raise it. Here's a novel approach to government: we've got X dollars, how can we spend it to maximize the quality of life of our citizens? I don't get to randomly pull in more money from secondary sources if I decide I want a bigger TV this year, so why should the government?

Re:Grrrr (5, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873705)

Time to go after the pork. Scaling the military-industrial complex down to a defensive level instead of an imperial level suddenly frees up nearly half our federal revenue. Imagine all the social programs that would benefit.

Re:Grrrr (3, Informative)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873929)

Social programs are pork as well.

Re:Grrrr (0)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873991)

Social programs are pork as well.

Says somebody who obviously never needed social programs. It's everybody's responsibility to uphold a civil society by helping the truly needy, because they would expect the same if they needed it.

Re:Grrrr (1)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873979)

That's just crazy, hippy talk.

Seriously though, I don't see a decrease in our military spending anytime soon. Far too many people are making far too much money off it.

Re:Grrrr (3, Insightful)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874009)

Troll..the defense budget is nowhere near half the Federal spending. The 2008 figures were around 18-20% of Federal spending and about 4.4% of Gross Domestic Product. If you want to find savings look at Mandated Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and those "pork" projects each Senator sticks in the various spening bills. The funding levels for Defense are projected to DROP in the next few years while entitlement spending zooms to the moon. Add in entitlements contained in the "bailout" and we are going to have significant issues funding just the BASIC military (payroll, facilities, maintenance) we need much less R&D and procurements needed to stay current with technology. Just because the USA doesnt'/won't/can't spend enough of our budget to keep up does not mean our enemies will ease up their spending. Or maybe you want the US to be lesser?????

Re:Grrrr (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874075)

I said revenue, not spending. It's easy for half of the federal revenue to make up 18-20% of their spending if a massive deficit is propped up.

Re:Grrrr (1)

diggum (769740) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874055)

> Imagine all the social programs that would benefit.

Not to mention the citizens and businesses who would have significantly reduced taxes - more money to spend and invest - as well as pissing off a lot less of the world, reducing our need for a large military budget in the first place.

Simplistic? Yes. But it can be refreshing how much more effective simple solutions can be than the quagmire of most bills passed.

Re:Grrrr (4, Interesting)

causality (777677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874181)

I'm sick of the attitude "we've got stuff to pay for and we need to figure out how to raise revenue to do it" regardless of how they choose to raise it. Here's a novel approach to government: we've got X dollars, how can we spend it to maximize the quality of life of our citizens? I don't get to randomly pull in more money from secondary sources if I decide I want a bigger TV this year, so why should the government?

That's easy. There's this common misconception that politicians don't understand things like balanced budgets. They do. They're power-hungry liars but otherwise they are not stupid. They know how to play this game and they know that the average person is far too trusting and naive.

The reason why they don't carefully spend our money and otherwise respect and honor the citizens is because there is no political power to be had by doing that. That is the nature of political power. I wish we'd be more open and honest about that instead of beating the drum of patriotism and claiming that the expansion of government is "for the children" or "for our safety". A minimal government that is fiscally responsible and leaves the citizens alone as much as possible just doesn't satisfy the sort of fevered egos who are attracted to positions of political power.

As a side note, to get a better idea of the sort of manipulation that goes on, just research "problem, reaction, solution" which is also known as Hegel's "thesis, antithesis, synthesis". If you can notice that pattern just one time you'll start seeing it everywhere. See that and patterns like it and perhaps then you, too can experience the joy of predicting the outcome of political "debates" in the media (it's easy -- whichever prefabricated solution does the most to expand government is the one that will probably "win") for people who neither believe you nor question the high success rate of your predictions. There's just not a lot of understanding of the idea that our politicians have been going down the same path for quite some time and that they intend to travel further down that same path.

porn tax (5, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873591)

TFA says that this will include a tax on porn, but not all of the lawmakers are on-board with the idea of taxing porn. Apparently taxing "legitimate" movies and music is fine, but a porn tax is bad.

Things that make you go hmmmm....

Re:porn tax (1)

Red4man (1347635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873939)

That just means the NY State Reps love the free porn and want to keep not paying for it.

Porn Taxation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873597)

From the article:

fee on all music and video downloads â" including pornography. ... But not everyone is on board with the idea of profiting off porn. The chairman of New York's Conservative Party says that taxing it legitimizes it.

Evidently, giving porn a tax exemption wouldn't legitimize it at all.

Um... Isn't Wall Street in New York? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873621)

Y'know. Where ALL the money goes.

Hmmm. Lets tax internet downloads... Genius at work. Aren't you glad your representatives are as highly effective as they are?

 

Re:Um... Isn't Wall Street in New York? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873855)

Yes, all the money goes there. But it turns out if you happen to need it back, they don't have any clue where it's gone, because it sure as hell isn't there anymore. As far as I can tell, to the Wall Street guys that's a feature, not bug.

Re:Um... Isn't Wall Street in New York? (1)

sabs (255763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873987)

I know, lets tax executive Bonuses.

Can someone tell us which party controls NY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873623)

I mean, you'd think it would matter if there were one dominant political party in that state. We'd all like to know if that were true, and how this desire to tax things reflects on the underlying philosophy of that party.

Wouldn't identifying that political party be, ummm, news?

Re:Can someone tell us which party controls NY? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26874101)

It's only news when the party isn't Democrat.

This has to stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873625)

  Can't we as humans at least have something "for free"? I'm already paying for an Internet connection which is already taxed with those "I have no freaking clue what these fees are for."

  Next I'll be taxed on how much I crap on a daily bases. Wait. I believe I already am. "pick my nose" tax next?

Meters on our routers? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873645)

Well, in effect us comcast users already do.

Not the same a making e-tailers collect NY tax (1)

nsolon (1064682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873655)

If people would RTFA, they would see that this is NOT the same as what has been going on regarding Amazon and other e-tailers to collect NY state tax. That tax is "use tax" that you as a private citizen are required to pay regardless of whether the retailer collects it. This article is about charging for digital downloads. It is about the medium. With exceptions, current tax codes only require the payment of tax for tangible goods. iTunes downloads fall outside the scope of the definition of "tangible goods." See: http://www.tax.state.ny.us/pdf/publications/multi/pub20_1007.pdf [state.ny.us]

NYS wants to encourage piracy (5, Insightful)

Vandil X (636030) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873727)

So what they're really saying is to hit the torrent store for our online "purchases" rather then stay legit and send more tax revenue to a bunch of $100K/yr earning public servants who got NYS into this budget problem in the first place.

I'm sure this was proposed over a $1000/plate fund-raiser dinner.

Re:NYS wants to encourage piracy (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874083)

Yep, black markets tend to thrive off of government regulation.

State with a Spending Problem Wants More Revenue (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873739)

When times were good, state governments spent and spent and spent. Spending cuts are painful, politically and otherwise, so they need to raise more revenue.

Unlike the federal government, they can't borrow without reasonable limit or fire up the printing presses. But also unlike the federal government, it is easier to move to another part of the country than outside the country itself.

So they'll try to tax things like downloads as opposed to a general hike on income taxes, which are already high in NY State (correct me if I'm wrong).

Most things we do for pleasure nowadays are taxed (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873745)

...except one.

You know...thingy.

Re:Most things we do for pleasure nowadays are tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26874169)

What? Poo poos? No? Well thank heaven for that.

troll tax! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873755)

if goatse got taxed 1 cent every time someone seen his "stretch" he would be a very poor goatse.

No shit, sherlock. (2, Interesting)

NNKK (218503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873761)

This 4% rate is exactly identical to the state sales tax rate for everything else in New York. Hell, they're being ridiculously nice -- it's half what you'd actually pay in most cities (which add their own rate, usually in the vicinity of 3-5%, on top of the state rate).

The fact that downloads don't get taxed in some states is a bizarre anomaly, and has no logical basis. CDs and DVDs are not exempt from sales tax, exempting their online counterparts is wildly inconsistent. Argue all you want about the merits of taxes in general or sales taxes in particular, but there's nothing remarkable here. Just a state closing a silly loophole.

Re:No shit, sherlock. (5, Insightful)

KyleTheDarkOne (1034046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873811)

The main reason for taxes on good is the use of the infrastructure, the roads and the like for the movement of goods, as well as to get money, but downloads don't actually provide any wear on the infrastructure.

Re:No shit, sherlock. (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874037)

Ya well somebody has to make sure them tubes aren't clogged...

Quick!!!! Somone!!!! (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874185)

Call Joe the Plumber and his Plumbers crack to unclog them inter-tubes!!!

Welfare state (1)

chazd1 (805324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873765)

New York is a welfare state. [wikipedia.org]

It is real condition http://mises.org/story/2225 [mises.org]

OUR system needs fuel in form of money. Anything that can be considered (at least to a tipping point) as a social negative will be taxed like crazy to keep the machine running. It is a process like perpetual motion. It will attrify and die eventually unless we come to our senses and correct the current system.

Tax revolt NOW!

Out of Control Spending (2, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873767)

State, Local & Federal governments have been as irresponsible as the financial sector they set the rules for and then didn't oversee, probably because of donations and revolving door employment between government and the companies in that sector.

They have never admitted that taxes can be too large and stifle investment and productivity.

Reagan showed that it was possible to stimulate activity by lowering taxes, but now all we are hearing is raising taxes. Nowhere have I yet heard anything about reducing government spending programs.

The mega-push for Socialism has reached steam-roller stage.

Re:Out of Control Spending (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873861)

The countries with the highest standard of living in the world have tax rates considerably higher than in the US. This is not an argument for simply raising taxes without a total rethink of government activity, but it does suggest that lowering taxes is running in the wrong direction.

Off shore servers (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873769)

So you just buy your itunes from an off shore account ( no tax ) then FTP your file home.

Taxation is not a solution for budget shortfalls (2, Insightful)

sircastor (1051070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873779)

I understand the need for Taxes. I'm willing to pay taxes. There is a benefit of the state providing some services.

Your problem is that you've run out of money. Yes, you can ask the citizenry to give you more money, but then what happens when you erroneously spend that money?

Budget shortfalls are a symptom of poor budget expenditure. Yes, New York state likely is receiving less funding than it was previously, but that also means that services are not being used to the extent that they were previously. Make the adjustments, rather than piling your spending problems on someone else.

Arrrrr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873781)

I wouldn't have any problem giving them 4% (or even 400%) of what I pay for downloading movies from BitTorrent!

Golden Goose (1)

navtal (943711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873801)

I am reminded of the story about the goose that laid the golden egg. Setting any kind of state wide per bit tax would drive companies away that use the internet to deliver a product witch the states already tax unless all of the states got together and did this at once. In which case the heart of the internet would be driven further from U.S.

Not totally off base, from a legal standpoint. (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873809)

If one views downloads as goods or services, states typically levy sales taxes. They can only make the seller pay the taxes if the seller has a point-of-presence in that state. And I'm guessing there are a few company owned Apple stores in NY.

The economy we knew is dead (1)

nido (102070) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873853)

There's no way to revive it. As REM had foreseen [stlyrics.com] , the world we knew has ended, and now we're just drifting until a new wind catches our sails.

If the Federal government would just fix the debt problem [realitysandwich.com] , all these other problems would rapidly fix themselves.

Federal Law (2, Insightful)

SheldonLinker (231134) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873889)

NY and you are ignoring three very basic points:

1) The US Constitution prohibits states from taxing anything crossing state lines.
2) A server can be located anywhere.
3) People will minimize their tax paid.

If NY puts this law into effect, then the affected servers will be moved out of state, and no tax will be due or collected.

As a side-note, we produce and sell packaged software. We're in California. We get sales-tax returns mailed to us from Louisiana. We throw them out, unopened.

Re:Federal Law (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26874085)

The US Constitution prohibits states from taxing anything crossing state lines.

So what do you call the taxes levied on alcohol and cigarettes? Those have state taxes slapped on them too.

Just redefine what "is" IS. (1)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873913)

Just redefine what the meaning of "is" IS... this seemed to work well for our former President Clinton...
Instead of downloading something that YOU bought and now own. You are renting/licensing code or essentially just using someone else's property under contract.

If the tax man decides to tax bandwidth useage (electric-meter style), just imagine how expensive the NetFlix movies will now cost via mail since nearly every DVD movie disc is just over 7GB+ each!
(Reminds me of the phrase "never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes"...)

Population has voted themselves bread and circuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26873919)

And Barack Obama is the ringmaster.

Hate to Say it. (2, Insightful)

ticklemeozmo (595926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26873941)

I hate to be that curmudgeon old fart, but once they get something, they don't give it back.  And once they start taxing something, it's easier for you to accept new taxes.

But just read and grasp what the whole concept of this is here.  NY wants to TAX you for NOT shopping in their state.  You want to save money by buying online, they want to TAX you for saving money.

I'm not going to get into any Republican vs Democrat ideals here; I just want everyone in NY to understand what is fundamentally happening.  You exercised your right as a consumer to not shop somewhere, and you are being charged for it.
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