Are you a blogger in Philadelphia?
The city wants to have a drink with you.
Officials from the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (sounds nice so far) and the (here it comes) Department of Revenue are cohosting a "Bloggergate Happy Hour" next Wednesday in Old City for, as they put it, "bloggers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, artists, and creatives."
The city hopes to answer any questions about the business-privilege license and tax that have riled Philadelphia bloggers, especially the vast majority making very little or no money from their endeavors.
An unhappy Linda Vertlieb, 28, plans to be there. She started FrugalPhillyMom.com in March and has made a whopping $80 so far from ads on her site. She was disheartened to find out she needed to pay for the license - $300 onetime or $50 a year - and pay the tax.
The city says that any for-profit entity must get a business-privilege license, and the city enforces this requirement on all sorts of ventures. The city is not singling out bloggers, officials said.
The news that Vertlieb had to get the license was, to her, just another blow from the city during these hard economic times. She has lost hours at her part-time job. Her husband is a city firefighter facing reduced overtime. She just found out her property tax was going up 10 percent.
"It's like we can never catch a break," Vertlieb said.
City officials hope to make the issue of paying taxes a little easier to swallow with the happy hour, which is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 8 at National Mechanics, 22 S. Third St. For more information, call 215-686-4478 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those curious, the city will not be picking up the bar tab.