Proposed bill would add sales tax to digital streaming services

Proposed bill would add sales tax to digital streaming services

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Among the proposed bills at this year's legislative session is a streaming services tax bill.

Gov. John Bel Edwards is backing House Bill 562, which would add a tax on digital streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, along with digital books, mobile apps, cable television and satellite radio.

The possible streaming tax would impact many local businesses, including the owner of Bayou Technologies, Victor Wukovits, who is also a digital subscriber.

"The reason this draws a lot of people pause when it comes to sales tax in our little area - we have the highest sales tax in the country right now at 10.75 percent," he said.

The 10.75 percent is the combined sales tax in Lake Charles.The proposed streaming tax would be the same as the state's sales tax, now at nearly 5 percent (4.97 percent).

Louisiana is ranked no. 1 in the nation in combined sales tax.

Wukovits'  are split when it comes to the proposed bill.

"As a consumer, that's not too pleasing to me because I'm paying more for something that I didn't have to before," Wukovits said. "As a business owner, I can understand there is a need to have some sort of replacement tax."

Local subscribers also have their opinions.

"Fifty cents would not make a difference in me canceling my account," said Briana Rankins. "Netflix is for your entertainment, so why would you cancel your subscription?"

"We lose 50 cents or more every day in random places, like in our cars," said Chasity Bosby. "It wouldn't make a big difference."

Lawmakers say it would generate millions of dollars. In the past, consumers would go to the store to rent a DVD and pay sales tax.

"It's not a whole lot, but you start adding it up," said Wukovits. "Next thing you know, I'm paying a lot more every month for things I never had to before."

If you'd like to analyze the bill for yourself, click here. Final adjournment of the session will be on June 8.

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