iTunes and Text Messaging? That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Chandra Sharma
Political Communications, Redistricting and New Media Strategist

In retrospect, it seems absolutely deplorable – as new technologies continue to popularize and grow, improving the way we communicate, live and interact, the government has been deprived of its fair share. High-Speed Internet Service, Text Messages, iTunes Music and Video Downloads – yes, they all may seem like cutting-edge innovations that are helping bolster California’s economy by creating jobs and encouraging investment, but truly, all they’re doing is cheating the government out of valuable tax revenue.

For shame! Thank god that Progressive cities like Los Angeles and Sacramento, along with equally progressive legislators like Charles Calderon are there to put a stop to such an injustice and help the government get its fair share – after all, all those environmental impact reports aren’t going to pay for themselves.

But let’s be honest – taxing Music Downloads and Text Messages is a nice start, but if California is ever going to live up to its true tax potential, we’ll have to start getting more serious about taxing early and often. How long have iTunes and Text Messaging been around? We can’t afford to waste future tax revenue by sitting around waiting for the next big thing – it’s time to get proactive!

Here are some ideas for current and future innovations that we can tax immediately to make sure the government gets its fair share:

  • Hybrid cars: Sure, everyone’s big on environmentalism, reducing foreign oil dependency and increasing fuel efficiency, especially in the wake of such high gas prices. But did you ever consider the impact that your Prius is having on the state’s budget? More fuel efficient cars use less gas, and the less gas you buy, the less you pay in fuel taxes. Thank god we can catch this problem early – imposing a fuel efficiency tax on Hybrid cars will help make sure that the government isn’t cheated by this new and dangerous trend.
  • Along those same lines, everyone seems to be switching to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs these days. They can be up to 75% more efficient than your standard incandescent light bulb – thankfully, we can easily make up for this with a CFL efficiency tax.
  • The recent hands-free cell phone law has made great strides in expanding California’s nanny state, but it’s also been a missed opportunity – the state could have made a bundle by putting an additional luxury tax on Bluetooth Headsets immediately before the law took affect. Thankfully, it’s not too late. Charging a fee every time a cellphone user activates their speakerphone feature might be an idea worth exploring as well.
  • Now that cities are beginning to ban plastic shopping bags, it’s foreseeable that many will purchase reusable bags to carry their groceries in. Unfortunately, these bags are only taxed at the time of purchase. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution – grocery stores can be made to collect a fee each time goods are loaded into a reusable bag.. In fact, these reusable bags have been in use for years now, even in areas where plastic bags have not yet been banned – it would be a good idea to make this a statewide ban so that no one gets away with this anymore.

This is truly just the tip of the iceberg. If we want to continue to increase spending throughout the state, we’ll need to start taking these tax increases more seriously — It’s time to tax early, tax often and get creative!

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