California considering download tax


Assemblyman Charles Calderon wants to change the definition of music, books and video downloads, changing their status from intangible to tangible, and begin to generate much needed additional revenue for the state.

The move would up the price of the aforementioned download by eight or nine cents, and could bring in 114M a year in additional state income according to one estimate. Calderon, however, thinks that number could soar to as much as 500M when pornographic downloads are added in.

However, some Republicans, including Michelle Steel, believe the measure could have the opposite effect. It would simply cause high-tech companies offering such products on line to move to one of the other 49 states that do not charge a download tax. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Calderon faces opposition from within his own party as well.

RBR/TVBR observation: This would seem to be a non-starter. Before we even hear from the many watchdogs that may have a problem with government profiting from a relationship with the pornography business, we recall that the mere mention of applying any kind of tax to the internet has been roundly struck down to date in the Senate Commerce Committee. And as Steel pointed out, without a federal blanket regulation, avoiding such a tax would be beyond simple. This attempt to pick the taxpayer pocket appears doomed to failure.