A taxing proposition


That’s what Los Angeles lawmaker Charles Calderon is trying to do, according to a KFSN ABC 30 news broadcast on April 3.

He wants the state to start taxing music and video downloads from the Internet besides items we are already taxed on, such as CDs and DVDs.

This would really hit iTunes hard since many people purchase their music digitally because of the added benefit of no sales taxes.

In order to enact this change, he is asking the state Board of Equalization to redefine what is considered a tangible item so that “i-products” are included and can be subjected to an “i-tax.”

There are some advantages, and the proposal is rational in a way.

If we pay sales taxes for CDs and just about everything else, it’s fair to say that downloads shouldn’t be any different. Many people listen to music, so that would mean a huge increase in tax revenue that could stabilize the economy.

However, it’s not a stretch to say that, if the definition is changed and a tax proposal is given, many consumers would not vote for it. There are too many downsides, many concerned with timing and how the economy would be impacted. But just the thought of it concerns me as a college student.

Because students listen to and buy music digitally more than most people, this tax would affect us the most.

Since we are poor as it is, this could really drain our wallets.

A sales tax on a 99 cent song isn’t much, but if you buy a lot of songs or video, the money can easily add up. It’s likely that a sales tax on downloads in California and other states will come eventually, but now is not the right time.

Our economy is a problem.

Even if millions of tax revenue went into the economy with this sales tax, it would not be enough to end this recession or make a large enough difference, especially since the Iraq War is still going on.

The debt is just too high.

At best, it could stabilize the economy, but only in the short-term.

Students and the public in general are not spending as much on non-essentials such as entertainment, instead spending more on gas and other commodities.

Increasing the cost for consumers would lead to an even larger decline in download sales than there is now. Since people cannot buy as much music as they want to legally, those that actually pay for their music will turn to illegal downloading instead, which is already hurting the industry.

Illegal downloading would become even more of a threat and could be the straw that broke the music industry’s back.

All of this is possible and even likely.

It’s not really worth it, at least at this point in the economy, for this proposal to be passed.

There’s more to lose than there is to gain. Regarding the economy, the government dug most of this hole by making bad decisions and it should not always be the consumers and taxpayer’s job to dig them out.

This is mainly a plan to jumpstart the economy, but we don’t have as much money to spend on digital music and videos as it is.

As the saying goes, something’s gotta give.

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