Several cities consider 'Netflix tax' for subscribers

By Sean Dowling, Buzz60

Do you love shows such as, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things? Do you love them enough to pay for them?

You might soon be required to pay even more than the monthly streaming service charge in order to enjoy these shows in what is literally referred to as an "amusement tax." But most folks have dubbed this the "Netflix-tax."

City officials in Pasadena and 45 other cities in California are considering whether to tax subscribers on Netflix, Hulu and other video streaming platforms using a municipal utility tax code already in place designed for taxing cable-TV users.

The reasoning is to make the money back that was lost when people became "cord cutters" and dropped their cable TV providers when switching solely to video streaming.

See more on Netflix:

Movies leaving Netflix after June 2016
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Movies leaving Netflix after June 2016

"Along Came Polly"

Nothing inspires secondhand embarrassment quite like Ben Stiller's many faux pas in the 2004 rom-com Along Came Polly. Catch the hilariously cringe-worthy Ethiopian food scene (among many others) on-demand before it's too late.

"The Central Park Five"

This mind-blowing documentary follows five New York City teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of a horrendous crime back in 1989. The film provides an unvarnished glimpse into our flawed criminal justice system that's both devastating and enlightening; catch it before it's gone.

"A League of Their Own"

This star-studded film is an irrefutable classic and a must-see for all Netflix aficionados. The perfect summer flick follows an all-female baseball team's meteoric rise to fame in World War II America. Stream it on-demand today.

"2001: A Space Odyssey"

This 1968 science-fiction film from the brilliant mind of Stanley Kubrick is a mind-bending classic. 2001: A Space Odyssey is just as much a visual masterpiece as it is an intergalactic journey through time and space. It's well worth a Friday night in.

"Notting Hill"

This late-'90s film featuring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts is an uplifting romantic comedy perfect for a Friday girls' night in (complete with rosé). Catch it before it's gone!

"Mean Girls"

Arguably the best movie on this entire list, this work of art from comedic genius Tina Fey and accomplished director Mark Waters needs no introduction. How many times can you watch Mean Girls in one summer? The limit does not exist.

The "Back to the Future" Series

All three Back to the Future movies will grace the Netflix airwaves come July, giving you the opportunity to watch the entire sci-fi series from start to finish (possibly in one sitting). 

"The Big Short"

If the pile of awards isn't any indication, The Big Short is a captivating film offering a previously unseen view of the 2008 financial crisis that derailed our postgraduate plans and toppled the American economy. This is a must-see for anyone born between 1980 and 1995. 

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

While not famous for its feminist rhetoric, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the 1953 romantic comedy that purported a then-obscure Marilyn Monroe to superstardom. Watch for Monroe's iconic rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend."

"The Lovely Bones"

From the writer who brought you the book Lucky comes the screenplay adaptation of her award-winning novel The Lovely Bones. While not for the faint of heart, this part-thriller, part-drama offers a strangely uplifting outlook on life after death.


The move would follow in the footsteps of taxes that have gone into effect in Pennsylvania and Chicago, which are behind the "amusement tax" on cloud services.

However, in July, a lawsuit challenging the Chicago tax moved forward, claiming it is unconstitutional.

Critics of Pasadena's proposed Netflix utility tax say the move counts as double taxation because the user is already paying local taxes for internet access for their computer and for phone-carrier access for their smartphones.

Pasadena officials say they're exploring all options about how the city can collect revenue.

Netflix alone has 47 million subscribers in the U.S. and if you're thinking, "didn't I just pay more for my Netflix account?" you'd be right. The standard plan went from $7.99 to $9.99 a month in May.

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