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Va. lawmaker to introduce 'Netflix Tax' bill to General Assembly




LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Virginia lawmakers have put forth a new bill that has opponents on hold.

The "Netflix Tax" would apply the Communications Sales and Use Tax to services related to the streaming of audio and visual data.

WRIC reports that the bill was introduced by Del. Vivian Watts, D-Fairfax.

She said the tax that already applies to cable TV and satellite radio is all about "fairness." Streaming services aren't included.

“The Democrats are bringing forth the 'Netflix Tax.' They want to tax all the streaming services, so that’s Netflix, Hulu, all the things that I think everybody under 30 and even some of us over 30 use. I think it’s a tragic mistake,” said Del. Tim Hugo, R-Fairfax.

Watts said outlets should all have the same rules.

“This is what we are trying to define, so that we have an equal playing field in all of the ways in which this infrastructure allows you to communicate,” she said.

Hugo said it is not necessary.

“I think we’re taxed enough. We don’t need to raise taxes. What we need to do is spend wisely,” he said.

Watts said she doesn't think the bill will get enough support this year, but that it is something worth considering in the ever-changing technology landscape.

“It’s an important dialogue that we need to engage in for fairness amongst all of the ways in which we communicate,” she said.

The "Netflix Tax" would bring in nearly $8 million a year, according to the impact statement submitted with the proposal. It would begin in fiscal year 2019.

The bill will go before a House subcommittee next week.

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