Alameda, CA Voters Approve the “Utility Modernization Act”

Californians in Alameda could soon be forced to pay “Netflix taxes,” levied on online TV show and movie streamers.

That is because city voters approved local Measure K1, the Utility Modernization Act. The “Definitions” section of the measure clearly explains “video service provider” now includes those which provide “video services using internet protocol.”

Unfortunately for the taxpayers, proponents of Measure K1 downplayed this important aspect. Indeed, city officials claimed  “Netflix taxes” are not their intention, but why should anyone trust them?

Money-hungry lawmakers simply cannot resist the opportunity to target technological advances, which continue to make lives more convenient, as new sources of revenue.

This is already the case in Pasadena – one of roughly 40 municipalities in the Golden State with utility tax language similar to that of Measure K1 – where politicians are currently considering the “Netflix Tax.” And when Pasadena or any other California city begins taxing online streaming, what is to stop the city of Alameda from following suit?

More alarming is that “Netflix taxes” are only the beginning. These days, the lives of Americans are made more convenient thanks to technological advances, such as downloadable books, downloadable music, online video and virtual greeting cards.

Soon, lawmakers will be targeting these innovations as a way to rake in more hard-earned tax dollars.