Entertainment tax targets TV services

Illinois Capitol News

ILLINOIS — Your neighborhood bar could be making some cutbacks. Satellite TV users could see an additional 5% tax on their bill if the Senate budget follows through.

It’s called the “entertainment tax” and it passed Tuesday with only Democratic support, but it’s facing some backlash from those who say it’ll be a burden on businesses.

Coonrods Bar is just like most neighborhood pubs. It’s got pool, games, sports and, best of all, great deals. But, after hearing a bout a 5% hike in satellite TV taxes, owners say they question how they’ll continue making a profit.

“A lot of people nowadays are on a budget, so when you’re coming in, used to having a brew after work on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, prices go up, you kind of have to change your patterns a little bit.”

Petitt says a tax increase may not seem like much, but for small businesses struggling for revenue, it can take a toll.

“You raise a beer that someone’s been paying for the last four years, $2.50 to $4 or $3, they’re going to notice.”

Business owners say they understand the need for the increase in revenue here in the state, but taxing leisure time just isn’t the way to go.

“We found the political will to make some really tough decisions.”

Lawmakers say they had no choice but to find new ways to raise money. They estimate their new spending plan could generate $5.4 billion in new revenue.

“I hope that we will be judged fairly in the long run. We did what was right for the state of Illinois.”

Local vendors say they don’t see an upside in the future and hope the tax can be eliminated.

“There’s really good deals for the community and we’d like to keep providing those for our neighborhood.”

Customers of cable TV and streaming service, like Netflix, could also see increases on their next bills. A 1% tax will cost Netflix customers roughly ten-cents.

Dish TV is urging the House to kill the bill saying it gives an unfair advantage to cable companies. Moments after it passed, Dish TV released this statement:

This tax violates the equal protection clause of the Illinois constitution and it is a threat to the grand bargain budget package.

 

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