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Lawmakers Consider Taxing Streaming Services To Pay For Kirwan Reforms

Rachel Baye

State lawmakers are considering applying the state’s 6% sales tax to digital products, such as e-books and streaming services. The House is expected to hold an initial vote on the bill Wednesday.

The bill’s sponsors say it isn’t a new tax. Rather, they say they are attempting to modernize the existing sales tax to be more fair to sellers of tangible and digital goods alike.

“If you buy a book, a digital version of a book online, you gotta pay the sales tax just as you went into a bookstore and bought a hardcover book,” Sen. Jim Rosapepe, one of the sponsors, said at a hearing before the Senate budget and Taxation Committee Tuesday. “Same thing with music, same thing with streaming — all kinds of products.”

Legislative analysts say the move could earn the state $117 million in the fiscal year that begins this July. The bill specifies that the money would be spent on the school system reforms that came out of the Kirwan Commission and that the House passed last week.

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom.
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