The California Assembly, apparently facing an $8 billion deficit, has introduced a bill that would apply sales taxes to "media downloads," namely the music sales going through iTunes (which, as we've reported, is challenging even retailer giant Walmart for music sales numbers). But it seems as though (since new taxes require a 2/3 majority in California) they're going about it in a pretty weird way.
Basically, to duck the majority rule, they're instead trying to have "digital property" count like normal, taxable property. That way, all they're doing is changing a definition, not actually adding a new tax. Even then, they've got another hurdle to jump -- the California Assembly, of course, can only tax things bought in California, unless they charge a "use" tax, which is for people things buy elsewhere but only use in California. Which no one ever pays anyway. Yeah, it's weird.
Eventually, they'll probably pull something off -- Apple already charges sales tax in quite a few states, so it's not surprising that California, Apple's home base, would try as well. It seems like politics is making the process a little bumpier than elsewhere, though.