New York State Proposes 8% Sales Tax on Spotify, Netflix, Other Streaming Services

New York streaming tax
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New York streaming tax
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Photo Credit: Matthias Kinsella

New York State proposes an 8% sales tax on Spotify, Netflix, and other streaming services to increase funding for public transit.

New York state residents may soon be required to pay more for streaming services, according to a report from WGRZ. The New York State Assembly submitted a proposed budget that would include an 8% sales tax to digital media subscriptions like Spotify, Netflix, and Audible — 4% for state and 4% for local sales tax.

The proposal states that media or “digital product” that is “electronically or digitally delivered, streamed, or accessed” would be taxed. This tax would exclude cable and satellite television and physical print media like magazines and newspapers.

Most of the money from that tax would go toward costs at the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) in New York City. An estimated $63 million would be raised by 2027 for the MTA, and an estimated $46 million would go to public transit elsewhere across the state.

“I think it’s just another example of needing more money or revenue for all of the new programs that they’re coming up with that were expansions,” says New York State Assemblyman Stephen Hawley (R-Batavia), who opposes the Democratic-led Assembly’s proposal.

“It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. 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.”

“I know how desperate the MTA is for resources, and frankly, I know how desperate the NFTA is for additional resources,” says Assembly Majority Leader Crystal People-Stokes (D-Buffalo), who is hopeful the final state budget due April 1 will include the proposal.

“If you’re talking to somebody who drives a car who never needs to use a bus, then they’re probably going to say, ‘Why is there going to be a new tax?’ But if you talk to somebody who takes the bus everywhere they go, they’re going to say, ‘Oh yeah, we do need support for public transit.'”