Legislators in Georgia are proposing a 4% tax on digital media, which would include videos, books, games, and music. They claim this tax would be used to help fund internet projects in the state’s rural areas. According to Georgia State Representative Jay Powell, this tax could generate up to $48 million by 2021. However, there is no guarantee that the money would go where they say it’s going.
A similar tax was passed in Chicago a few years ago. This tax was dubbed the “Netflix Tax” and was a 9% charge to streaming services and online purchases. But taxes like these may actually be unconstitutional. They seem to violate the 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). ITFA keeps local and state governments from imposing discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
Apple even took Chicago to court last year to oppose this tax.
It’s uncertain whether something like this will pass in Georgia as well. Lawmakers attempted something similar last year and were turned down. And, unsurprisingly, a study shows that around 66% of Georgians are “staunchly opposed” to such a thing. We don’t really blame them.
Hopefully, Georgia makes the right decision and this tax does not get passed. There are plenty of other ways for rural areas to get funded. With a tax like this, no one really wins.
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