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Internet Tax Approved By Louisiana House 305

Posted by timothy
from the well-they-have-a-napoleonic-system dept.
Stinky Litter Box writes "WWL-TV in New Orleans reports that the Louisiana House voted 81-9 on Thursday to propose that a '15-cent monthly surcharge should be levied on Internet access across Louisiana to fight online criminal activity.' Can you say 'slippery slope?' The good news is that Gov. Jindal opposes such a tax. Full disclosure: I grew up in south Louisiana and worked for WWL-TV in the late '70s."
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Internet Tax Approved By Louisiana House

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  • Rep. Mack "Bodi" White, R-Denham Springs, said he sponsored the bill for Attorney General Buddy Caldwell, to raise money to finance a division in Caldwell's office that investigates Internet crimes, particularly online sex crimes against children.

    I agree that sex crime against children are very very bad but I think that if you look at the scope and size of the problems that plague the internet and ranked them in order, you'd find many other things precede sex crimes against children. Like Internet Fraud [fbi.gov] and Identity Theft [usdoj.gov]. How much money do people lose to things like that? Hint: A lot.

    I'm sick and tired of thinking of the children, let's think about everybody for a while. The lil' bastards don't even pay taxes and they're the motivation behind 50% of the legislation in this country.

    • by castironpigeon (1056188) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:29AM (#28220781)
      Bring up an emotionally charged topic like children's protection and you can enact any half-baked political action. They killed Socrates this way, they can sure as hell ratchet down internet rights this way.
      • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:50AM (#28220959)

        They killed Socrates this way, they can sure as hell ratchet down internet rights this way.

        The Louisiana House Legislature killed Socrates? That's terrible.

        • They killed Socrates this way, they can sure as hell ratchet down internet rights this way.

          The Louisiana House Legislature killed Socrates? That's terrible.

          I wouldn't be surprised, in 2001 (yes, within this millennium) they branded Darwin a racist [state.la.us] with the following flawless logic:

          Be it resolved that the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby deplore all instances and ideologies of racism, and does hereby reject the core concepts of Darwinist ideology that certain races and classes of humans are inherently superior to others.

          Yeah, they actually brought out this gem (page 2 line 1):

          WHEREAS, Adolf Hitler and others have exploited the racist views of Darwin and those he influenced, such as German zoologist Ernst Haekel, to justify the annihilation of millions of purportedly racially inferior individuals.

          Who knows where they'll set their sights next to appease their God? I certainly wouldn't want to be in their way lest I be likened to Adolf Hitler.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by NovaHorizon (1300173)
            HOW did they explain the whole concept of slavery for the... 10,000 years BEFORE Darwin then?
            • by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday June 05, 2009 @10:21AM (#28222047) Homepage

              HOW did they explain the whole concept of slavery for the... 10,000 years BEFORE Darwin then?

              That's jive. As any fool know, the earth be less than 10,000 years old [wikipedia.org].

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by clone53421 (1310749)

              Explaining slavery is easy. "Do this for me, or I'll hurt you." You're talking about justifying it, which is usually conveniently overlooked.

            • by rohan972 (880586) on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:30AM (#28223113)

              HOW did they explain the whole concept of slavery for the... 10,000 years BEFORE Darwin then?

              Perhaps because much of the history of slavery has not been race based. People have been sold as slaves for debt, and slaves have often been a prize of war, those wars often being fought over political boundaries rather than racial differences.

            • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday June 05, 2009 @12:06PM (#28223689) Journal

              Slavery was typically little more then a conquered nation doing the bidding of the conquerors. Even the slaves of colonial America were conquered tribes and the descendants of them. Once a person was a slave, they were considered property and not a citizen with citizenship rights and were treated as such. This treatment was more or less to enforce or reinforce their lack of freedoms in the society. It was a spoil of war, even if the war consisted of sending an overwhelming forces or raiding parties to round people up.

              In fact, that's how the term Nigger came into play. Near the end of Slavery shipments to the US, most of the tribes in Africa along the slave coast had been captured and the rest fled into the interior portions of the African Jungle where Europeans feared entering. There was the Niger river that blocked a lot of their paths and they would find tribes on either side of it. Anyways, the Niger river which has a long speculation on the name origin the meant "river of rivers" rather then the french word for "black and night". But as property usually sold unseen to overseas buyers, slave being shipped needed several things. A lineage to prove their worth and ability to act as slaves, some types of slaves refused to cooperate and usually brought less money while the ones that resisted the longest and made it the deepest into the jungle were typically the strongest and most desirable, so the fact they were from the Niger river area was a plus. This is much like the lineage in animals and so on where a purebred and documents dog or horse or cattle or whatever commands more money then the same without the documentation. Now another practice which is still in use today was to have a bill of lading that included both the origin of the property and the destination. In keeping with the Lineage, Niger was used as the origin so traders in the Americas wouldn't become suspect of the lineage. Anyways, it has been determined that the first or one of the first written use of the term "Nigger" was from a shipping clerk in Maryland and the term was most likely in use before that by the phonetically speaking southerners who distinguished between domestic slaves and imports. This also explains the connection of skin color to race and why racist concentrated more on bloodline then color of skin.

              Looks like I went way past your topic but slavery has typically been a spoil of war. Even the slavery from Africa brought to the Americas was tribal and kingdom warfare (in Africa) that got people classified as property and sold as slaves.

              • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday June 05, 2009 @12:58PM (#28224515) Journal

                A lot of people forget that during the 1500s and 1600s, there were a lot of white-colored slaves. The practice of enslaving whites was gradually replaced with black slavery during the 1700s, but if you are a white person it's entirely possible you have slavery in your background.

                • by sumdumass (711423) on Friday June 05, 2009 @02:09PM (#28225543) Journal

                  One of the more important reasons for the shift from white and black slaves stems of a US based British colony ran mostly by slaves in which the slaves, both white and black banded together for a slave rebellion in an attempt to escape to Spanish Florida where free colonies already existed. They killed a about 25 free whites in their attempt who were outnumbered enormously by slaves in the area at the time. They also burned several buildings and amassed a decent sized following but the rebellion was put down.

                  In 1740, 2 years after that Stono Rebellion [wikipedia.org] the South Carolina legislature (mostly a corporate board because of the colony situation) passed the Negro Act of 1740 in attempts to control the slaves. It provided protections against harsh working conditions and so on that would create a rebellious situation in the first place but was hard to enforce because a slave couldn't testify against a free man. One of the more influential parts of the Negro act was that it regulated manumissions which is more or less a fancy term for a slave owner granting freedom to their slaves. One of these regulations came to be a divide and conquer strategy in which 1 white slave to every 10 black slaves were required but black slave could never be anything more then a slave where the whites could regain their full citizenship.

                  This provided a situation where the white slaves would (were encouraged to) report suspected rebellion plots in hopes of gaining their freedom and stopped the entire slave groups from banding together again. This also led to the downfall of white slaves as other restrictions such as importation of new slaves were discouraged/banned and populations were breed from existing stock. A big issue here is corruption of blood, the blacks because of the manumissions laws would always be slaves, including their children where the children of the whites would/could be free people woth full citizenship rights (*another incentive to not rebel and report conspiracies).

                  This also created the concept of classes among the slaves in which the black slaves were at the bottom by default. This had to do with white slaves appearing smarter because they could already speak the language and mostly read and/or write. Once white slaves fell to the side, the class differences sort of remained which was part of the prejudices throughout early America. Although with the end of the civil war, freed slaves being dumped onto the populations and taking white jobs, and the north mandating the whites succeed power to the freed slaves made the system of racism far more worse then what this was about before then, but slaves weren't really treated with respect either.

                  The history of racism in the US is deeply tied to slavery and perhap unique to the US because a lot of the laws like the Negro act wasn't enacted in other countries. Combine that with slaves in other countries either finding support from manumissions and former slaves already living and integrating in the other areas or they simply wanted to go home, were in the US, they attempted to create a local stock in which they were already home so to speak and you can see some issues directly connected to slavery that fueled the hate and resentment on both sides.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    You overlook one important thing in your exposition. The U.S. government was desegregated when Woodrow Wilson took office, he re-segregated it. There is a significant possibility that if it had not been for Woodrow Wilson, the 60's civil rights movement would have been unnecessary (or would have taken place in the 20's).
                    If Woodrow Wilson had not re-segregated the Army (and the rest of the military), whites and blacks would have served side by side in WWI. This would have exposed a lot of men to people of t
          • by value_added (719364) on Friday June 05, 2009 @09:36AM (#28221471)

            I wouldn't be surprised, in 2001 (yes, within this millennium) they branded Darwin a racist with the following flawless logic ...

            Huey Long, one of the more famous governors of the Great State of Louisiana, once said "One of these days the people of Louisiana are going to get good government and they aren't going to like it."

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by stewbacca (1033764)

            Yeah, they actually brought out this gem (page 2 line 1):

            WHEREAS, Adolf Hitler and others have exploited the racist views of Darwin and those he influenced, such as German zoologist Ernst Haekel, to justify the annihilation of millions of purportedly racially inferior individuals.

            Wow, I've never heard of a State Godwin-ing a law!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tuxgeek (872962)

            I wouldn't be surprised, in 2001 (yes, within this millennium) they branded Darwin a racist [state.la.us] with the following flawless logic

            That's great!
            A state that harbored the KKK and remains the national hot bed of racism to this day. ROFLMAO
            National center of Cross burning == Louisana

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by coolsnowmen (695297)

            Darwin was a racist. Just because you believe in micro + macro evolution (well I do, and because you are defending Darwin you probably do too), doesn't mean its founded wasn't flawed.

            I promise, just google it and you'll find quotes like this:

            At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes ⦠will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla. [2]

            [2] The decent of man, Charles Darwin

            Darwin's logic was used and abused by many to continue racist beliefs and actions. The man was a scientist with a great idea; not a saint.

        • But, when they did it, did they pronounce it sau-kra-teez? Or Soe-kraets?

        • by Gerzel (240421) *

          Must have imported the hemlock.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Bring up an emotionally charged topic like children's protection and you can enact any half-baked political action. They killed Socrates this way, they can sure as hell ratchet down internet rights this way."

        Well, I have heard it put forth in the past, that the keys to the Constitution of the US are "terrorists" and "child pr0n".

        With either of those two, you can run roughshod over the Constitution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b4upoo (166390)

        We don't seem to have a lot of molested children running about where I live. It seems like a fairly rare problem and in most cases that we do hear about it is a family member or live in boy friend that does the bad deed.
        Frankly I can't see society spending much money on such an issue. I am aware that we have a witch hunt for sexual offenders. There is a city near my town that has all of its convicted sex offenders living under a bridge

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:31AM (#28220795) Homepage Journal

      I'm sick and tired of thinking of the children, let's think about everybody for a while.

      So you're saying that your anti-children? :-P

      I agree that sex crime against children are very very bad but I think that if you look at the scope and size of the problems that plague the internet and ranked them in order, you'd find many other things precede sex crimes against children. Like Internet Fraud and Identity Theft. How much money do people lose to things like that? Hint: A lot.

      I dislike the term "Internet Fraud". Fraud is fraud, whether it was conducted on eBay or at the local flea market.

      That aside, I think you're saying that if you cut down on other crimes conducted online, sex crimes conducted online will drop as a matter of course. I tend to agree.

      .

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209)

        I dislike the term "Internet Fraud". Fraud is fraud, whether it was conducted on eBay or at the local flea market.

        I have to disagree. From the perspective of law enforcement, fighting Internet crime requires a lot of extra technical expertise, and that means hiring additional people with extra training. If anything, internet crime is more like what the FBI and Secret Service have traditionally investigated.

    • by hesaigo999ca (786966) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:53AM (#28220993) Homepage Journal

      I tend to agree with you there, there are so many more prominent situations across the board we could defer our resources to, however, children should not be completely put off to the side, everything is parallel, so to is the p0rn on the web...if you turn away for 2 seconds you fall so far behind playing catch up, you won't be able to catch them properly for another few years after you start again....

      I believe there should be an overall committee, which has 3 sub division, fraud/identity theft, child p0rn, and virus/worm/spam divisions. These would each have there own budgets decreed by higher up management, and also
      correlating to their importance to one another, but sharing tactics and technologies to better make use of resources.

      Also, just because we spend 1 billion dollars on child p0rn to catch those implicated, does not mean we will get more caught, it just means the chances should be greater. It all depends on how the money is spent and where, I think before giving any more money to any of these organizations, we should see where they will spend the money , sort of like a business plan, open for review by a few high class security experts, that can see the big picture....sometimes a lot of the people in these orgs, don't really know the firs thing about technology advances, even though they mean well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk (75490)
      Do they similarly tax photographs? How about telephone service? I imagine both are used for sex crimes against children.
      • Do they similarly tax photographs?

        I would tax holiday snaps!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Do they similarly tax photographs? How about telephone service? "

        Actually yes...at least on the phone thing, most everywhere taxes phone service. At least, according to any bill I've ever had for a phone, landline or cell.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nxtw (866177)

          Actually yes...at least on the phone thing, most everywhere taxes phone service. At least, according to any bill I've ever had for a phone, landline or cell.

          But these taxes are typically allocated to:

    • "The lil' bastards don't even pay taxes"

      Deficit spending means we will bill today's children tomorrow, for things we enjoy today but won't pay for ourselves. Each of those "non-payers" owes about $30,000 the day they are born.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        "Deficit spending means we will bill today's children tomorrow, for things we enjoy today but won't pay for ourselves. Each of those "non-payers" owes about $30,000 the day they are born."

        Well, the current administration has been piling that deficit spending on, like no administration before them.

        It certainly isn't gonna get any easier on the the next generations. We need to stop NOW.

        We cannot as a country afford to keep throwing money at private business (and buying and running them), and the next load

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kheldan (1460303)
      Actually you're not cynical enough. Children are not the motivation, they're the excuse. Think of it as a soft terror-tactic: pay us $0.15 per month, or little Timmy will become the victim of online predators! EVERYBODY PANIC! It's basic social engineering: If you can panic people, make them give in to fear, their higher brain functions turn off; then you've GOT them.
  • Use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:26AM (#28220751)

    Thank goodness legislatures have the discipline to only use funds for the reason they gave in the justification.

  • Make 'em pay (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:28AM (#28220769)
    I don't live in Louisiana (or the US), but I'd be quite cross if they started charging me because other people like to watch images of naked kids.
    • Re:Make 'em pay (Score:5, Insightful)

      by noundi (1044080) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:36AM (#28220825)
      Let's disregard the article for one second here. How do you think crime fighting is funded in general?
      • Re:Make 'em pay (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:49AM (#28220943)

        Okay, another scenario.

        Traffic Cops - Are they funded by Car Tax? No
        Homoicide Detectives - Are they funded by Death Tax? No

        Why should Internet Cops be different? As far as I'm concerned, in my workplace, I had to modernise and use computers to keep in the market place.
        Did my "core" business change? No
        Did my fees change? No

        Why do cops need to tap a new revenue source to battle online crime. It's their job to fight crime regardless of where it is, and they are funded by the state. State's coffers getting scarce? Not my problem. They already get a piece of the action when I get my wages. They get a piece of the action when i "buy" broadband/computer/electricity. What else next?

        Oh sir, you want to use that electricity to power your kettle to make coffee? That'll be a 15cent tax. Why? Boiling hot coffee was used in a crime, so we need more tax to pay for the cops to investigate coffee burn crimes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by noundi (1044080)
          I'm a bit confused because it seems like you're fighting for two different things at the same time. In the beginning of your post you're stating that no other category of crime has its own tax, and that there's no reason that internet crime should be treated differently.

          After this your concern seems to be about police funds in general and you quickly drop the subject about separate taxing. If I understand you correctly it's no longer about specific taxes for crimes but instead about why the police, with th
      • by gnud (934243)
        Crime fighting is funded by (normal) taxes. White-collar crime fighting is funded by my income tax, not a special tax on stock or bond trading.

        So, internet based crime should be treated in the same way.
        • by noundi (1044080)
          So it would be perfectly ok if they would instead add this (according to them new and necessary) sum to your income tax making no economic difference for you at all? Is it the name that bothers you? Am I the idiot here? Because I really don't get it.
        • Crime fighting is funded by (normal) taxes.

          I take it you've never had your car impounded by police only too eager to boost their budgets from the sale of your car (for, among other things, posession of drugs, attempting to buy drugs, soliticing a blow job, and traffic violations), had other property impounded that was similarly sold, or just driven through certain localities where the local sheriff's version of crimefighting involves intimidating motorists to hand over their cash?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Through taxes, like the sales taxes I pay when I pay my bill for internet access, and the property taxes paid by my landlord and my ISP.

        I'd like to see property taxes go up, and income taxes go down, and eventually away. But I guess we can't have everything.

  • News flash: a 15-cents-a-month tax will not deter criminals.

    • by aicrules (819392)
      Unless those criminals now have to cancel there internet because they can't afford the extra 15 cents! I wonder if free internet access will now be free plus tax??
  • by sskinnider (1069312) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:36AM (#28220823)
    FTFA - "I don't think we should start instituting a revenue stream for every criminal element that's out there," Maybe the Mayans were right about 2012.
  • Okay, and....? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:39AM (#28220849) Homepage Journal

    Look at all the surcharges you pay on your telephone bill. I think the federal rural phone tax lasted until something like 1999?

    This is a non-story. The big story where states are going to soak people for taxes is when Congress allows them to do sales tax on every single purchase. It's coming.

    (and maybe a federal one, too)

    • How about the long distance phone excise tax that was levied to fund the Spanish American War (in 1899) and finally repealed in 2006?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the summary: "Full disclosure: I grew up in south Louisiana and worked for WWL-TV in the late '70s."
    OK, well...before I post, I should disclose some things too.
    I've said the word "Louisiana" 11,547 times in my life. I've never been there, but I hear they have some weird tax on the Intertubes.

  • by spiritraveller (641174) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:45AM (#28220903)

    It's just another tax on something that shouldn't be taxed... We already get taxed on ramen noodles, water, gasoline, cheeseburgers, cable television, telephones, and almost everything else.

    If you're worried about a slippery slope, please glance downward at the icy incline and the skates on your feet.

    It is kinda stupid to justify as way to pay for fighting "online crime". Why don't they levy an additional tax on retail sales and call it the "shoplifter arrest and incarceration tax".

    • Why don't they levy an additional tax on retail sales and call it the "shoplifter arrest and incarceration tax".

      DO NOT GIVE THEM IDEAS.

    • by smoker2 (750216)

      Why don't they levy an additional tax on retail sales and call it the "shoplifter arrest and incarceration tax".

      They probably already do. Why do you think cities have their own taxes to pay for local law enforcement and other services. The internet has escaped local taxes other than sales tax, so where should the extra money to provide online law enforcement come from ? By charging everybody, including people who don't use the internet, or just those who do ?

  • by netbuzz (955038) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:47AM (#28220923) Homepage
    Of course it's tough to vote against "protecting the children," but if this expenditure is necessary it should take a place in line with every other legitimate need and wait for its share of the income tax. Special interests are going to be lined up around the block to try this one in La.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Late Adopter (1492849)
      Agreed.

      An economist will tell you money is fungible [wikipedia.org]. It doesn't matter where it comes from. If you earmark a particular source for a destination, that just means the destination needs that amount less from the general supply, which is then freed up to go wherever.

      It's a great way to get unpopular revenue streams passed (my state uses Lotto to fund education), but it's entirely meaningless.
  • How does this affect people who want to offer free Wi-Fi?
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Friday June 05, 2009 @08:50AM (#28220955)
    What about the billions we already gave to that incompetent Nagan and his crooked police force?
  • How would this work for public wifi? Would you get charged an extra 15 cents on your tab when you pick up your coffee? What about waiting at the airport, would that be an extra 15 cents on your flight?
  • While you are worry about US$ 0.15/mo. We in Brazil need to worry about 40%, that's what we pay in taxes for any kind of telecomunication service. I wish I could pay US$ 0.15 in taxes.
    • While you are worry about US$ 0.15/mo. We in Brazil need to worry about 40%, that's what we pay in taxes for any kind of telecomunication service.

      I wish I could pay US$ 0.15 in taxes.

      Yeah, but at least you have good beer....

    • by Ogive17 (691899)
      This is an additional tax, not the total tax. I don't live in Louisiana but in my town in Ohio I have one choice for broadband, Time Warner Cable, and that costs $45 + another $5 or $6 in taxes that are tacked on (which is about 97-100 Reals). I'm suppose to get a 7Mbit connection but it's normally only around 4Mbit. Not to mention if I stream video it seems to magically slow way down.

      How much do you pay for broadband a month?
      • by famazza (398147)

        How much do you pay for broadband a month?

        In Sao Paulo we pay about US$ 45/mo for a 3 Mbps link, and about US$ 60/mo for a 6 Mbps. But the ISP only garantees 10% of the contracted link. Another problem is that in many cities there is only one option, so the maximum link is 1 Mbps, and the price is about US$ 35/mo. For each of these options we always pay 40% in taxes. Note that all prices already have taxes included.

  • This reminds me, somehow, of Gudrun Schymann (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudrun_Schyman), a Swedish politician who proposed a special "man tax". This tax would be levied on all men, for their collective responsability for the physical abuse some women have to put up with from some men. When someone opined that since all men would have to pay this tax, beating your wife/girlfriend cannot be illegal, she shut up very fast and has not raised the subject since!

    As for the issue at hand, why should internet
  • Who cares? There's so many additional fees on my phone bill that I wouldn't notice a fifteen-cent DSL tax. It's a lot less than the other little governmental add-ons.

    Of course, what I'd like to see done with it is to help expand broadband access. The problem with a state tax to address internet ills is that the internet is so much bigger than any state, or even any country.

  • Damn Louisiana for making me side with Jindal! Damn them all!

  • by airship (242862)

    Man, this is unbelievable! Totally amazing!

    Bobby Jindal is on the right side of an issue! 8O

  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Friday June 05, 2009 @10:28AM (#28222131)

    Hi, I'm Chris Hansen. I'm here to collect your taxes.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday June 05, 2009 @11:46AM (#28223381) Homepage Journal

    and have it go into education.
    The more you educate a society, the fewer crimes that occur. Also has the nice benefit of having an area with more businesses and a larger talent pool.

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