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NY Assembly Dems want to tax Netflix and other streaming services to boost MTA funding


ALBANY — New Yorkers could soon pay more to stream their favorite shows under a proposal by Assembly Democrats who hope to prevent a fare hike for subway riders.

The Assembly proposal would impose a 4% state tax and a 4% local sales tax on video and audio streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, in an attempt to help the troubled Metropolitan Transportation Authority. of liquidity.

Media or a “digital product” that is “delivered, transmitted, or accessed electronically or digitally” would be subject to the new tax, according to the proposal.

Cable and satellite television, as well as newspapers, would be excluded from the new tax.

Democratic lawmakers are looking at ways to raise money for transit and convince the MTA to drop its planned 5.5% fare increase for 2023, as well as an expected future increase in 2025.

The new proposal comes as Governor Hochul presented her own plan to cover the MTA’s $1.2 billion operating deficit with an increase in the state payroll mobility tax and $500 million in additional funding from New York City.

Separately, Senate Democrats proposed raising funds for transit by implementing a residential parking permit system in all five boroughs, as well as adding an additional 50-cent surcharge to Uber and Lyft rides. Another plan is being considered to increase the corporate tax rate on companies reporting more than $5 million a year to 9.25%.

Legislative leaders and the governor are currently negotiating a state spending plan ahead of New York’s March 31 budget deadline.

Meanwhile, the MTA is fighting to keep subways and buses running for the long term after the COVID-19 pandemic decimated ridership and caused farebox revenue to dry up.

The Assembly’s transmission tax plan would generate roughly $29 million the first year and an estimated $46 million would be collected for public transportation statewide by 2027, according to Dems’ calculations.

Republicans have rejected various plans to raise transit funds, arguing that Democrats are trying to trick New Yorkers into paying more taxes.

“At a time when many families are struggling to pay their bills and keep up with inflation, the last thing the government should be doing is making it more expensive to enjoy a night at home,” said Sen. Jake Ashby (R- Rensselaer). “I will fight this tax on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and I urge the Governor to join me.”

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