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Government Communications The Almighty Buck

City Councilman: Email Tax Could Discourage Spam, Fund Post Office Functions 439

New submitter Christopher Fritz writes "The Berkeley, CA city council recently met to discuss the closing of their downtown post office, in attempt to find a way to keep it from relocating. This included talk of 'a very tiny tax' to help keep the U.S. Post Office's vital functions going. The suggestion came from Berkeley City Councilman Gordon Wozniak: 'There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email.' He says a one-hundredth of a cent per e-mail tax could discourage spam while not impacting the typical Internet user, and a sales tax on Internet transactions could help fund 'vital functions that the post office serves.' We all know an e-mail tax is infeasible, and sales tax for online purchases and for digital purchases are likely unavoidable forever, but here's hoping talk of taxing data usage doesn't work its way to Washington."
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City Councilman: Email Tax Could Discourage Spam, Fund Post Office Functions

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  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:33AM (#43115403)

    Berkeley is a college town, so a large block of voters are students with no long term interest in the community. So a lot of kooks get elected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:38AM (#43115489)

    Do I put the stamp on my monitor or insert it into my computer's cup holder?

  • Re:FP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by satch89450 ( 186046 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:52AM (#43115631) Homepage

    Regarding bridges/roads and tolls: One of the rationales for keeping tolls on roads and bridges is to collect money to maintain the roads/bridges once they are paid off. I've seen this reasoning used in three states, and in all cases the tolls were increased "because the cost of maintaining the roads keeps going up." In Cook County IL, the real reason the tolls were kept on is because sub-standard work had to be torn up and re-done -- multiple times. The reason the work was sub-standard is left as an exercise to the reader.

    I've never lived in a state where the tolls were retired and the booths torn down.

    Dig a little deeper, and you find out that the governments appreciate how tolls free up general revenue for other spending.

  • Re:FP? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:59AM (#43115709)

    No-one's explained -why would I want to fund the post office?

    I just get spam and bills and rubbish. If it cost loads for these clowns to post me rubbish perhaps it would dissuade them and they'd have to actually provide value. The post office should be helping me by preventing it; instead they've stated they need all the spam to survive. Well, I'd rather they not survive.

  • by ayvee ( 1125639 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @11:29AM (#43116061)

    (X) Microsoft will not put up with it

    Uh, no. Microsoft actually wanted [] to do this ten years ago.

  • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @11:48AM (#43116307)

    to add to myself:
    As interpreted and implemented "USPS is legally obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality."
    And "primarily to facilitate interstate communication"

    Can you think of a better way to justify creating universal internet access with a minimum acceptable quality of service?
    I think it's a damned good way to go about it.

  • Re:Good idea (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bigby ( 659157 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:39PM (#43116963)

    Most mail needs to go into a "we'll deliver it when most cost effective; max of 14 days". Just build up the mail to a certain area until it gets "full", then deliver it. Some areas would only have deliveries once a week. Others would be every day. You can then have a real "first class" mail that would be delivered more often.

    Basically, introduce a "second class" mail. And price the first class MUCH higher.

  • Re:Good idea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Friday March 08, 2013 @01:31PM (#43117593)
    It wouldn't necessarily impossible. I have said for a decade that the post office should get in to the email game. This would be one revenue source for them. Charge a small fee for email delivery through their relay. Then the rest of us could set our email servers to only accept email from white listed domains and addresses. This would cause all of the cost to be front loaded on the initial contact. Thus legitimate email would be very close to free, and spam would be really expensive.

    This could be even better if our smtp standard could be enhanced with a 'you are not white listed, send via usps relay' error message. This way out going email could function as it currently does for users and admins could set their own cost budgeting policies.

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