Game over: Gov's 'itax' would increase price of videogame downloads

You can duck, jump, morph, shoot or fly, but no matter what level you are on or what game you are playing, you will not be able to avoid Gov. David Paterson.

The governor's proposed tax on downloadable content has videogame aficionados questioning the wisdom behind jacking up the price of what many consider a source of relaxation.

In January, Paterson announced an executive budget that attempts to curb what he labeled the largest budget deficit in state history. The amount of cuts represents a $1.7 billion shortfall in the current fiscal year, as well as a $13.7 billion deficit in the 2009-2010 budget year.

Paterson is proposing a series of taxes that include an 18 percent tax on non-diet sodas and soft drinks nicknamed "the obesity tax;" a tax on cable and satellite TV and radio services; a tax on personal services, such as salon services, massages and credit rating services; an increased tax on wine; as well as an increased tax on luxury goods.

If you are the type of person who drinks diet soda, never buys luxury items and hasn't gotten a haircut in years, the governor's tax proposals would probably not affect you.

Unless, of course, you are a sucker for your Wii.

Should the governor's budget pass as proposed, both state and local sales taxes would be imposed on purchases of prewritten software, digital audio, audio-visual and text files, digital photographs, games and other electronically delivered entertainment services.

In other words, taxes would be applied to all songs downloaded on iTunes, game demos and add-ons for the PlayStation systems, and possibly even the ring tones and wallpaper photos that are currently downloadable for a few dollars.

In Paterson's description of the tax, he said, "With the passage of this bill, a book, song, album or movie would be subject to sales tax no matter if it was bought at a brick-and-mortar store or downloaded online."

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