Friday, October 11, 2013

Expect to see more of this

Much, much more, as every government that has the authority to levy a tax or a fine tries to enhance their revenues.

Earlier this week the home-renting company Airbnb publicly objected to what it saw as an overreaching subpoena by the New York Attorney General. The subpoena demanded data on all 15,000 of its hosts.

Airbnb lawyers have now filed their objections in court. Airbnb's petition, filed yesterday in Supreme Court in Albany, is more ambitious than the company let on earlier. It isn't merely trying to quash the AG's request for data on its users. Rather, a good portion of the 24-page petition is dedicated to directly attacking New York's hotel tax as unconstitutionally vague.

This, boys and girls, is what is known as a "fishing expedition".  The New York Attorney General doesn't want this information for just the Airbnb clients who reside in New York, but for all of them.  So if you are an Airbnb client who has rented you house in Iowa and who in turn has rented a house in Texas, the New York Attorney General wants to know about you.

The death spiral has started, and as it gets tighter and tighter, those in power will grasp harder and harder.  Get ready for it.

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