I can understand governments wanting to access potential revenue streams whenever and wherever possible, but is it too much to ask them to exercise some common sense in the process? Wait, sorry, forgot for a moment that I was talking about a government operation.
Personal blogs are not money generators, even if they have adds on the page. If they make any money at all from those adds it might be enough to pay for services, but even that is usually a stretch.
Professional blogs however have the potential to be money generators, and are often treated as newspaper editorial columns. Blogs like that are typically part of a larger network (Gawker Media anyone), and the bloggers are treated as journalists by the network, and are even typically paid for their contributions. Their legal status as journalists is currently under examination, and while many treat them as journalists and feel that they should be protected by the same laws that protect journalists, their legal status as such is far from conclusive.
Is it right for a government to charge a blogger for a business license? I think that before they can do that they need to legally classify a blog as a business, therefore giving them the legal groundwork to actually tax it as a business. Then there is the additional consideration of whether or not the blog has to be hosted on local servers to qualify as a business in the community attempting to tax it. If the host server is in another state, would it still count as a local business, or would it be considered a business in the state where the host server is housed? Lots of questions that really should be addressed before taxation is rolled out.
I suspect that before long we will see a group such as the Internet Freedom Foundation stepping in to offer to fight for the rights of these bloggers, and force the city to back off. Until then…we shall have to see.