Wednesday, December 21, 2016 by JD Heyes
The authoritarian lunacy of the Left is constantly on display in California, which has been ruled by big government, tax-and-spend liberal Democrats for decades.
As reported by The Mercury News, California cities in the Bay Area, which, like the state government, have an insatiable appetite for “OPM” (other people’s money), are looking at taxing online video streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon, literally snatching money out of thin air.
Just as television viewers begin in earnest to “cut the cord” from overpriced, under-delivering cable and satellite TV services in favor of Internet-streamed television like Sling TV and video services, lib cities are moving in for their “cut.”
“Cities throughout California—including at least two dozen in the Bay Area—are considering adopting a streaming video tax to make up for revenue lost by viewers who have left their cable TV subscriptions behind in favor” of online streaming, the paper reported.
Cities will likely look to adjust their existing utility user’s taxes, though there are questions surrounding whether or not that is legally permissible. If it is deemed proper, then viewers will be forced to pay as much as 10 percent more to stream online content, making California even more expensive to live in.
The streaming video companies are not taking the news lightly. Netflix officials have suggested that a so-called “Netflix tax” is a violation of consumers’ rights.
“It’s a dangerous precedent to start taxing Internet apps and websites using laws intended for utilities like water and electricity,” said Anna Marie Squeo, a spokeswoman for the Los Gatos-based company, as reported by The Mercury News. “It is especially concerning when these taxes are applied to consumers without consent and in a manner that likely violates federal and state law.”
The monthly increases could add up, analysts say. With a 10 percent video tax as the benchmark, viewers attempting to keep up with their favorite streaming programs on HBO Go, for example, would see service jump from $15 to$16.50; Netflix that now costs $9.99 would go up by one dollar per month, and Hulu’s service would rise from $8 to $8.80.
That may not seem like much, but given the high-tax climate of California specifically and the fact that residents in the state already pay the highest average taxes per household, according to Nerd Wallet.
The Internet Association, a lobbying group that pushes for policies that promote and protect online freedoms, believes the streaming tax could be just the beginning of many more to come.
“It would open the door for countless other industries to be targeted for similar tax grabs in the future,” said Robert Callahan, the organization’s executive director in California, in a statement. “Websites are not utilities, and should not be subject to the utility users tax.”