New Bill Would Allow Maine Towns to Tax Streaming Services
Some members of the state government have taken note of how many of us have ditched cable and satellite in favor of streaming services.
A new bill before the legislature would allow Maine communities to tax streaming providers.
According to WGME, LD 1967 has already passed the Maine senate with bipartisan support.
It would require any company that uses the town’s wiring to transmit programming to have an agreement with that community. Basically, each company would have to have a “rental” agreement for use of the wires. And since streaming services rely on the often-wired internet connections, they would fall under this rule.
It is important to note that the fee would be paid by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and the other streaming services available in the city or town. It would not be paid by the streaming service customers.
But as opponents point out, there is a 99% chance that the streaming services will then raise their rates in order to compensate for the increase.
The article points out that technically, the law is already in effect. It was put in place for the cable companies in 1984. However, because of the delivery method for streaming (internet), they have been able to skirt the law.
Maine Chamber of Commerce President Patrick Woodcock has concerns that, in addition to Mainers seeing an increase in streaming fees, it will also deter business investment in our state.
Proponents of the bill claim that there are protections in place that prevent streaming companies from passing the fees along to their customers. Additionally, any fees charged would be income for those towns and cities. That money would then be used to support programs and services within the communities.
The bill has passed the House and Senate, and now goes back to each chamber for enactment.
Personally, I think that we all know, regardless of what preventative measures are in place, the streaming companies will find a way to raise rates to compensate for the taxes.
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