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Digital streaming tax unlikely to make final state budget

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  • Staff Report 

New York State Assembly’s Democratic leadership has proposed a 4% state and 4% local sales tax on digital streaming products, excluding newspapers and periodicals. However, Assemblyman Bill Conrad, D-Tonawanda, revealed that the plan lacks support from the entire conference, including himself, and he does not expect the tax to gain traction in ongoing budget negotiations.

Conrad cited that the proposal is not part of the budget plans drafted by the governor or state Senate, was not widely discussed among Assembly members, and has been unpopular among his constituents. SUNY Economist Fred Floss argued that the plan would predominantly tax the lower and middle classes, who have shifted from traditional media services like cable and satellite to streaming to save money.

Floss explained that while the tax may appear minimal, it accumulates for people living paycheck to paycheck. The revenue generated from the proposed tax is intended for transit projects across the state, with the majority earmarked for the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority, making it difficult to garner support in Western New York.