Looking For Something To Tax?

Mayor Menino has stirred up controversy by proposing to balance the city budget through increases in parking fine revenue. Our state legislature plans to hike up the cigarette tax. Times are tough for drivers and smokers.

Meanwhile, I see that on the left coast, an enterprising legislator has proposed a different approach: taxing downloads. By extending the California state sales tax to purchases of "tangible" personal property purchased online from a California company -- like, let's say, I don't know, maybe those 99-cent Apple's iTunes downloads that just surpassed Wal-Mart as the top music retail outlet? -- the state could raise an additional $114 million.

Opponents worry that, as one Republican pol out there puts it: "When you charge these taxes, all these e-commerces are going to move outside of California."

But it turns out that the proposal ultimately targets connoiseurs of something other than music. That $114 million estimate jumps to roughly $500 million if downloaded pornography is included.

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