“Net­flix Tax” cau­ses stir in Ca­li­for­nia ci­ties

Times of Suriname - - ENGELS -

USA - Whi­le ca­ble com­pa­nies fi­gu­re out how to gain back re­ve­nue as pe­o­p­le con­ti­nue to cut the cord and re­ly so­le­ly on strea­ming vi­deo for their en­ter­tain­ment, se­ve­r­al Ca­li­for­nia ci­ties are al­so con­si­de­ring char­ging con­su­mers for their vi­deo streams. At least a do­zen ci­ties in the Bay Area alo­ne are weig­hing whe­ther or not to adopt a strea­ming vi­deo tax to ma­ke up for lost re­ve­nue of tho­se who no lon­ger sub­scri­be to ca­ble, ac­cor­ding to re­ports in the San Jo­se Mer­cu­ry News and other area pu­bli­ca­ti­ons. What so­me are calling the “Net­flix Tax” is cau­sing a stir in one of the most ex­pen­si­ve are­as to li­ve in the coun­try. It would for­ce vie­wers in pla­ces li­ke Men­lo Park, Los Al­tos, San Le­an­dro and other Bay Area ci­ties to pay up to 10% to stream from Net­flix, Hu­lu, Ama­zon Pri­me and the li­ke. So­me of the to­wns ha­ve or­di­nan­ces that could be al­te­red to al­low them to tax vi­deo strea­ming wit­hout new vo­ter ap­pro­vals. This has cau­sed a stir among re­si­dents and con­cern for strea­ming ser­vi­ces. Net­flix, ba­sed in the south bay ci­ty of Los Ga­tos, said that the tax would vi­o­la­te con­su­mer 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 Net­flix, in the Mer­cu­ry News sto­ry. “It is es­pe­ci­al­ly con­cerning when the­se taxes are ap­plied to con­su­mers wit­hout con­sent and in a man­ner that li­ke­ly vi­o­la­tes fe­deral and sta­te law.” Re­si­dents could see their ser­vi­ces ri­se any­whe­re from 50 cents to ne­ar­ly $2 a month.

Vo­ters in the ci­ty of Ala­me­da ap­pro­ved a me­a­su­re that rolls in strea­ming vi­deo un­der the ci­ty’s uti­li­ty tax. The ci­ty had ap­pa­rent­ly lost $250,000 a year in re­ve­nue as pe­o­p­le drop­ped ho­me pho­ne li­nes and went wi­re­less, though the tax now al­lows re­ve­nue to be gai­ned on com­pa­nies pro­vi­ding “vi­deo pro­gram­ming” using the in­ter­net, ac­cor­ding to the San Fran­cis­co Chro­ni­cle. In­ter­net rights groups, li­ke the In­ter­net As­so­ci­a­ti­on, ar­gue that the­se taxes could “open the door for count­less other in­du­stries to be tar­ge­ted for si­mi­lar tax grabs in the fu­tu­re,” said Ro­bert Cal­lahan, exe­cu­ti­ve di­rec­tor of the In­ter­net As­so­ci­a­ti­on. “Web­si­tes are not uti­li­ties, and should not be sub­ject to the uti­li­ty users tax.” Still, the­re will no doubt be mo­re is­sues li­ke this co­ming to bal­lots near you. The­re are al­rea­dy me­a­su­res pro­po­sed in Chi­ca­go and in Pen­n­syl­vania.

(the­drum)

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