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Dumb, Desperate or Good Idea? Calif. Councilman Proposes Email Tax to Keep Postal Service Funded


"There should be something like a bit tax."

A Berkeley, Calif., city councilman has suggested that an “email tax” might be required to keep United States Postal Service funded, CBS San Francisco reports, citing the blog Berkeleyside.

“District 8 Supervisor Gordon Wozniak,” the report notes, “made the comments Tuesday as city officials moved to halt the sale of a Post Office building on Allston Way due to a decline in business.”

“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,” Wozniak  said. “And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email.”

Aside from keeping the post office funded, an email tax would also discourage spam, Wozniak explains.

No, really.

Well, okay, maybe we should cut him some slack. After all, it’s not like it's an entirely original idea: “...the idea was even studied by the United Nations in 1999 as a means of funding global communications infrastructure," the report notes.

“The Postal Service, which suffered a $15.9 billion loss in the past budget year, announced plans last month to end regular Saturday mail delivery,” CBS explains.

“The delivery of letters and other mail has plummeted in recent years. Email has decreased the mailing of paper letters, but online purchases have increased package shipping, forcing the Postal Service to adjust to customers’ new habits," the report adds.

However, it’s worth pointing out that, contrary what President Obama says, improvements in technology isn’t entirely responsible for USPS' plummeting revenues.

“[M]uch of the service’s red ink comes from a 2006 law forcing it to pay $11 billion a year into future retiree health benefits, something no other agency does,” CBS notes. “Without that and related labor expenses, the mail agency sustained an operating loss of $2.4 billion last year, lower than the previous year.”



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