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Skelton: Taxing email is the future

March 25, 2013|By Los Angeles Times Staff
  • Some have suggested taxing email for a valuable source of revenue.
Some have suggested taxing email for a valuable source of revenue. (Damian Dovarganes / Associated…)

Gordon Wozniak, a city councilman in Berkeley, has been getting lots of unhappy emails recently. One called him “the epitome of a communist.” Another said he is “making Berkeley look really silly.”

The reason for the unpleasantness? Wozniak has said the government should tax e-mail.

Despite the backlash, George Skelton says in Monday’s column that the retired nuclear scientist may be on to something.

Taxing email may be a way to cut down on the clutter in everyone’s inbox.

“I spend way too much of my day, as do many workers who are dependent on computers, hitting the delete key or—even more time-consuming—routing spam into the junk file and trying to block out the arrogant sender forever,” Skelton writes.

He suggests that once someone sends more than 100 or 200 emails a month, he or she could be taxed one cent per message.

“We’re passing up a great source of taxation,” said Arthur J. Cordell, a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. “It’s out there, and it’s not going away. Eventually it’s going to happen.”

All of Skelton's columns are here.

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