New York senator proposes tax credit for open-source developers

Allows devs to claw back a few bucks for donating code

A New York state senator says open-source programmers should be able to claim back part of their costs for writing free software.

NY senate bill S161, proposed by Senator Daniel Squadron (D) and co-sponsored by Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D), would allow developers to claim for 20 per cent of the out-of-pocket costs of building and sharing open-source code – although the rebate has a maximum annual benefit of only $200 per person.

"I represent the tech triangle and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, as well as areas in lower Manhattan where the technology sector has a growing presence – supporting that kind of innovation is key," Squadron told El Reg in a statement.

"I've also seen the cost-saving impacts open source can have for everyday users and businesses. Incentivizing open source software can attract more open source developers, create in-state jobs, and add to the state's burgeoning technology sector."

The idea of rewarding developers in this way isn't new – the concept was first put forward in 2006 by the Center for American Progress think tank – but it would be a welcome way for people who spend their time and money coding for others to get a little reward for their hard work.

Whether or not it'll pass is another matter. The Democratic Party is in the minority in the state senate, so it'll be up to the Republicans to decide if this goes ahead; and the nature of New York's state assembly is fractious at best.

"Quite frankly, the New York state government makes Washington look like a model of a well-functioning legislature," one US political insider told The Reg. ®

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