NY governor proposes iPod tax (among others) to make up budget shortfall


What a time to be alive, friends! New York’s governor David Patterson (above), who owes his job to Elliot Spitzer’s private stupidity, has proposed a budget that includes 88 new fees and taxes. Among the newly taxed items is the iPod (and other portable media players) as well as “digitally delivered entertainment services.” Should the budget pass, expect lawmakers to interpret that last item, the services, as damn near anything: iTunes downloads, Beatport, Netflix streaming, you name it.

Tough cookies, innovative companies, there’s a budget shortfall.

Other items to be taxed: soda and other non-nutrional drinks like beer and wine, clothes costing less than $110 (there used to be a tax break there), cable and satellite TV services and taxi rides. Remember, there’s 88 of these new fees.

There’s one primary reason for the iPod tax (we’ll just call it “the iPod tax” because that sounds more alarmist), and it’s that Wall Street collapsed under its own weight, depriving the state of much needed revenue. (How smart was it to depend on Wall Street so heavily?)

Again, the budget is still subject to approval by New York State’s wonderfully efficient legislature. Even if it does pass, I doubt New Yorkers will stop buying iPods or songs from iTunes despite having to pay a certain percentage more. Right now, the New York Daily News’ poll shows that 91 percent of respondents wouldn’t stop using iTunes to buy music even if the tax were to pass.

I’ll wait till the budget is approved before standing on a soapbox.