NY may start taxing music and pornography downloads

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Money's tight, but who knew things were so bad in New York that they need to start taxing citizens for their tunes and late night digital trysts? If enacted, the new tax proposed by Gov. David Patterson would place a 4% charge on digitally delivered entertainment services such as music, movies and pornography. A state spokesperson defended the proposal, stating that it would bring consistency to entertainment options which are already taxed in store. Despite the lucrative tax implications there are plenty of people lining up to oppose the tax.

While there is a concern amongst some officials that the new tax would drive the adult entertainment and musical entertainment companies away from New York, the biggest complaint seems comes from the state's Conservative Party. Michael Long, the party's chairman, rails against the proposed tax claiming that taxing pornography legitimizes an industry which takes advantage of women and will encourage residents to download more smut.

As the National Post points out, raising the price of an item normally reduces the demand for it rather than encouraging more users to purchase it. Furthermore if you follow the Conservative Party's logic, that taxing an item legitimizes and encourages the use of it, New York is actually working hard to get its citizens to smoke by carrying the highest cigarette tax of any state.

The problem with this solution is that raising the prices of porn and music may bring in some money but with a faltering economy more people will turn to free online music streaming and perhaps discover that the internet is full of shocking adult imagery all available for free. If the state of NY really wants to raise some real money perhaps it should start taxing escorts like those Elliot Spitzer used to frequent; seems there's plenty of money to be made there!
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