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Taxing Matters

You're homebased. You add money into your local economy but take none out. So why should you be taxed?

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of

Cities are greedy and here's proof: A few years ago Los Angeles enacted a "Home Occupation Permit" program to nick homebased businesses for a $25 fee. But hold on, because this ride turns strangely reminiscent of Chinatown, a classic film about corruption in the City of Angels.

In Los Angeles, this plot thickened because the Writers Guild of America (WGA)-the powerful union for screen and TV writers-took a look at Los Angeles' grab for cash and yelled foul. Why? Many Hollywood writers live in Los Angeles, and the WGA opposed not just the payment of a fee, but the notion of a writer being forced to register with the government. Keep in mind that during the McCarthy era, many WGA members took severe beatings-quite a few were blacklisted and denied work-and so the WGA is skittish whenever the government knocks on its members' doors.

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