Someone emailed me about this municipal tax change in Los Angeles, wherein “creators” are going to be taxed at the rate of “occupations and professions” rather than “wholesale and retail.” (WARNING: link contains lengthy comments section dominated by possibly-retarded Texan who turns the entire thread into a debate about whether or not Barack Obama is a secret Marxist and why Texas would be fine and dandy were it to secede.)
Thanks to Creators Syndicate and other such groups flexing their muscles, back in the 1990s creators were classified as “wholesale and retail” business, which has a lower tax rate. In Los Angeles, this matters, because a lot of creative muscle resides in the city. Anyway, Creators Syndicate is predictably throwing a hissy and threatening to leave. I particularly liked how Rick Newcombe, in his Wall Street Journal moanfest, complains that the city is “ignoring its own ruling” and that “the city is not bound by past rulings – only taxpayers are.”
Well, yes, of course that’s the case; any ruling on a tax situation in Los Angeles is going to be issued by the city clerk. Is the city clerk a judge? No. Are they a neutral party? No. The city clerk is an employee of the city of Los Angeles, and can reverse a previous ruling pretty much at whim because they’re only really expressing the tax preferences of the city. Sometimes those tax preferences will be “well, fuck it, we don’t want to get into a fight with Creators Syndicate right now.” Sometimes they won’t be.
And let’s be honest: classifying the job of creator as “wholesale and retail” is the most obvious kind of tax dodge in the first place, the sort of ruling that reeks of back-room gladhanding and favour-trading. Creators don’t sell their products on a wholesale or retail basis; they’re either working on a contracted basis or independently generating product that will be sold “wholesale or retail” only very rarely. The professions are more akin to what “creator” is; this reversal is merely a return to sensible tax policy, which is of course why people are screaming bloody murder.