There are times when you wonder if there are any brains in government at any level. The city of Philadelphia is definitely making me wonder.
It seems that Philadelphia has determined since bloggers are earning such huge amounts of money, that we are businesses and they must get a “business privilege license”. This little license will either cost you $50 a year or $300 for a lifetime one.
All of this came to light according to the Philadelphia City Paper, when Marilyn Bess was sent a letter back in May demanding she get a license due to her blog, Philly Organic. Ms. Bess works in this site infrequently, and on occasion writes some posts for eHow. She says over the last few years she has made a total of $50 from her various excursions into writing.
There is one major problem with the situation of her blog, however, and that is the fact that it is hosted on WordPress.com. For those of you unfamiliar with the site, it is a blog host that allows you to st up a free blog, but it strictly enforces a “no advertising” rule on the site. Since they host you for free, they don’t see why you should be making any money either. I’m not quite clear how she made her $50, but it certainly wasn’t from her blog.
It seems Philadelphia isn’t a fan of writers, period. If you are a freelance writer, you are also expected to get a business privilege license, and then pay the city taxes on your earnings in addition to what you pay the state and federal. As it is described in the article, any activity done with the potential of making a profit, whether it did or not, is expected to have one of these licenses.
I’m sorry, but they are out of their ever loving minds. A freelance journalist is nothing more than an employee who just moves around from job to job. You know why blogs keep us on a freelancer status? So they don’t have to pay any benefits or anything else on us. We’re already paying for everything, so, yes, please take some more of our money.
As for blogs needing a license … do you have any clue how much revenue is generated? This is far from a money making operation. In fact, I lose money every month. There is also the question about what happens with the blogs where they don’t identify where they are? Sure Ms. Bess had her city in the title, but what if the blog has no identifying marks, how are you going to track down every blog? That isn’t going to work so well, now is it?
I understand all governments are hurting for cash, but come on, there is a point where it just becomes silly. So, Philadelphia, I’m coming to town next month on vacation, and I will be writing while I’m there, do you expect me to pay you anything? Good luck with that.