New York State lawmakers are considering taxing streaming services as one way to help fund subways and other transportation systems around the state without raising fares.
A proposal within the state assembly’s $233-billion proposed budget for the coming year would levy a 4% state tax and a 4% local sales tax on digital streaming products to help cover $9 billion in transportation and infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.
“I casually call it the Netflix tax for a lack of a better term,” said Assemblyman John McDonald, adding that there are also “many other” streaming services, including Hulu.
Actually, the tax would apply not only to video services, but music, audiobooks, podcasts, games and other digital products that are “electronically or digitally delivered, streamed or accessed,” according to the budget plan, which calls for $233 billion in total spending for the coming year.
Cable and satellite TV, along with newspaper and periodicals apps, would be exempt from the tax.
A streaming tax is just one funding idea being considered as alternatives to a $700-million payroll tax hike proposed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul — a measure opposed by fellow Democrats, who control the legislature.
Other proposals include hiking corporate taxes on companies reporting more than $5 million in income, adding a 25-cent fee to deliveries of goods purchased in-store and online, and taxing ride-sharing services.
The streaming tax would raise an estimated $100 million per year, compared to $865 million for higher corporate taxes and $300 million for the package delivery fees, but some lawmakers believe that all of these new revenue sources are needed.
Others say such a tax would only serve to further burden consumers already hit by inflation.
"To attack every single individual that has this type of device on their television or on their computer just is not sensible and really goes after the working men and women of our state," agreed Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, who favors finding ways to cut the budget instead.
“After nearly two years of crushing inflation, as prices on everything have skyrocketed, New York Democrats now want to add a ‘Ted Lasso Tax,’” said Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, in a statement. “It’s no wonder people are leaving in droves.”
Streaming taxes already exist in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, and New York already imposed a 4% tax on Netflix users in 2021, when the platform added games to its offerings, according to the Times Union.
If the new streaming tax is passed, it’s “more likely to spur a drop in streaming subscriptions rather than an exodus of state residents,” the newspaper observed, noting that nearly every major streaming service has hiked its rates in the past year, despite the inflationary environment.
The New York State budget negotiations continue, but a budget must be finalized by April 1.
I don't agree with the streaming tax NY & CAL like to tax just about everything when the budget needs to be cut as this hurts everyone in the tax bracelet which isn't just the rich. Seems that NY & CAL is to raise taxes and keep spending and never cut the debt which needs to be done to keep the debt at least in check and I know it will never reach zero ever.