Missouri’s House of Representatives wants to pass a bill to prevent local governments from taxing video streaming services.
This comes as more cities are seeking to levy the same taxes and fees that are applied to cable providers. Proposals meant to help offset the financial losses of cable providers amid the rise of cord cutting have been cropping up over the last few years in states like Virginia and New York.
They’ve faced some resistance. In October, for example, one U.S. judge said streamers don’t maintain a physical presence in cities like cable TV providers who run cable, so they shouldn’t be taxed.
While a majority of the proposals have been stopped, Chicago was the first city to begin taxing streamers in 2015. The “Amusement Tax” added a 9% fee to streaming services, and the city reportedly collected more than $30 million from streaming subscribers in 2021.
Non-profit tax reform groups Consumer Action for a Strong Economy (CASE) and Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) have both voiced support for Missouri’s House Bill 2057.
“For far too long, Missouri municipalities have been trying to bilk their residents by raising taxes on popular video streaming services,” CASE said in a statement. “CASE supports HB 2057 because it would protect Missouri consumers from tax increases and prevent cities from enacting anti-business, anti-consumer policies that discourage investment and innovation in our state.”
ATR also argued that streaming services’ lack of physical infrastructure should exempt them from cable TV taxes.
“The legislature should bear in mind that once levied, these fees will most likely be passed on to consumers, raising the price for Netflix in the Show Me State but not her neighbors,” ATR President Grover Norquist said in a letter to the Missouri Utilities Committee.
As of January 25, the bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ben Keathley, cleared the House 13-1.