Blogger tax goes before Council panel

Debate over the city’s controversial fee for bloggers will be renewed in City Hall today as a Council committee considers a bill that would exempt hobbyist bloggers.

The story drew international attention when the city first began sending notice to bloggers in August requesting that they pay $50 annually or $300 lifetime for a business privilege license. The city has since said it is reconsidering the fee, and the proposal from Councilman Bill Green would scale back the impact.

Green’s bill would “exempt people engaged in hobbies or other not-for-profit activity” from paying after signing a sworn statement sent out with tax notifications.

“We want to send a clear, strong message that we don’t have a blogger tax and don’t want one. We want to encourage young people, and the creative economy, to stay in Philadelphia,” Green said yesterday. The letters from the Revenue Department “highlighted the ways in which our tax and licensing structure is overly burdensome and outdated.”

His bill calls for a “presumptive line” of making $3,000 or less for exemption, in part because “as a practical matter, it costs more to go after people [making less than $3,000 a year] than the taxes collected [from them].”

Asked whether he expected any opposition to a bill that had 15 co-sponsors when introduced, Green said the administration takes issue with the $3,000 line but “hopefully we’ll work through that” at the hearing. The mayor’s press office had no comment.

Follow Brian Hickey on Twitter @MetroBHickey.

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