Friday, August 27, 2010

Publishing and Literary News: "Oh, Hell To The Naw" -Freedom of Speech at a price? -Bloggers getting charged-

  Facebook newsfeeds are incredible things. While scrolling (more like trolling) my facebook newsfeeds, Author Barbara Bretton posted this status with a link attached that caught my attention.
"Philly requiring bloggers to pay $300 for a business license" 
 Me: "........"

   Say WHAT!? Of course I had to check out this article and was stunned that the government is so hard up for cash that they are more or less taxing us for the use of rights already guaranteed in the first amendment.
So you're telling me that my Recommendation of the Week's are worth 300$ +taxes? Well, hot damn! I mean, I have a high opinion of my blog, don't get me wrong (mother's pride), but even I think 300$ is pretty steep, just for posting my musings. Albeit, the cost would probably vary from state to state, and I haven't used the blog to make money in any way, shape, or form, but this is still a scary thought. Personally, I keep the blog ad sense free and just give you my crazy book content straight from concentrate ;), but what about other blogs who have been around for multiple years and make use of ad-sense for (literally) pocket change?

Marilyn Bess, blogger and creator of Ms.Philly Organic: Living Green In Philadelphia , is the common example being used by some media press outlets. She received a letter from the city in May, demanding 300$ for a business privileges license after it was determined (how? I shutter to think ; some believe *cough* unlawful abuse of authority/power*cough*-allegedly-) that her blog had made about 50$ over the past few years. Obviously, 50$ is enough to feed, clothe and support yourself and your family and is therefore a taxable amount of money..

Here's the way the 300$ 'business privileges licenses' for bloggers in Philly is being explained [by people with the press credential I sorely lack] ;):
"Even though small-time bloggers aren't exactly raking in the dough, the city requires privilege licenses for any business engaged in any "activity for profit," says tax attorney Michael Mandale of Center City law firm Mandale Kaufmann. This applies "whether or not they earned a profit during the preceding year," he adds. So even if your blog collects a handful of hits a day, as long as there's the potential for it to be lucrative — and, as Mandale points out, most hosting sites set aside space for bloggers to sell advertising — the city thinks you should cut it a check."-Philadelphia City Paper Source
 "Mannino says the city doesn't keep track of how many bloggers and small-website owners are affected. But bloggers aren't the only ones upset with the city's tax structure. In June, City Council members Bill Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez 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. (If bloggers don't want to fork over $300 for a lifetime license, Green suggests they take the city's $50-a-year plan.)
Their bill will be officially introduced in September. "There's a lot of support and interest in this idea," Green says."-Philadelphia City Paper Source
-So if you're a blogger, and put up ad sense to get a dime or two when someone clicks on it, the city feels entitled to AT LEAST 20 times that (okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But even so, why must bloggers fork over cash from their pocket in the first place? Hasn't any on ever heard of someone taking up some 'hobbies'. SO what if you get 20$ after 6 years? Like really, you don't see Martha Stewart-types forking over 300$ for putting together some of their arts and crafts projects for the kiddies and posting them on a blog)...Yep.. good ole governmental logic at work.. How ever did we find our selves in a economic recession?

-I love what one commenter said on one of the articles: "what's next? business licenses for little kid's lemonade stands?"..I wouldn't fling around that joke too carelessly... you may be surprised...

   But don't call a four alarm fire just yet; This is only being pursued in Philadelphia (as of yet) and still in the early stages and only in talks of an actual construction of laws/bill to enforce it. But you know how state government is. One state does it, 16 others find a way to be more outrageous with it and copycat. If push comes to shove, I think the blogging commuting will band together and sign as many petitions and write as many well-worded letters and blog posts as possible to advocate the separation of state from blogging (wow, where am I? 7th grade U.S History class with Ms.Norman?). Some entertaining (in it's ridiculousness) and slightly disturbing news for you to chew on ;) .. Where is the future of blogging heading?

Check out some of these related article where people who actually KNOW what they are talking about break it down for ya:


Until Next Post<3...


  1. Let's hope this is called out for what it really is: complete nonsense. I love my blog like a child and it costs me money like a child! :) Profit?! What profit?

    I love blogging but $300 just to tell someone about a great book....let's hope it doesn't come to that.

  2. I think most of us bloggers take money out of pocket to directly fund any 'activity' going on on out blogs. I've personally bought a FEW *wink, maybe many* books to be reviewed on my blog. Plus you figure the shipping and handling on personal giveaways not sponsored by an author or publishing house.. It racks up.. and I am only a college student.. Loans are looming to kick my butt, I don't need the feds scouring for chances to take a piece of my pie (which could really be considered a cupcake)

    I am in agreement with ya, Steph!

  3. Such a WTFckery. If this goes through and heads into other states, there will be an outcry like you wouldn't believe.

  4. Def. It's like, Who DOESN'T have a blog now-a-days. I don't think any of us (or at least the majority) started our blogs for financial purposes or 'for-profit'. I am not quitting school any time soon to pursue a career in writing reviews. It's rare for a book blog, or any other sort of blog, to make a substantial amount of 'profit'. And even then, said profit hardly covers overhead and expenditures.. this is , quiet literally: BALLS =D .. WTFckery indeed!



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