Spending Plan Taxes Cigarettes, Digital Downloads

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HAZLETON -- If you are a smoker, you are going to pay more with the new state budget.

The cigarette tax has been raise by $1 per pack. Cigars are not included.

But it's not only smokers who will pay. Anyone who buys apps on their phone or streams video on services like Netflix will also pay a new tax.

If you like the convenience of downloading music online on your phone or computer, or downloading books on websites like amazon, it will cost you more.

The price will soon include a six percent sales tax from the state.

Lawmakers just passed a $1.3 billion spending plan to fund the state's nearly $32 billion budget. There is no increase to the income tax, but there is a new tax that may be hitting many of us directly: a tax on digital downloading.

Pennsylvania will now join more than 20 other states that charge a sales tax on downloading of electronic books, music, and apps.

The state plans to also add its new six percent sales tax on the monthly fees for streaming services, like Netflix.

"That's not fair. We already pay a lot of taxes. We pay city taxes, state taxes, they take 33 percent of my paycheck every week!" complained Juan Polano of Hazleton.

If you have any digital downloading you want to get done, and want to avoid the sales tax, you have a few weeks while it's still tax free. The new tax goes into effect August 1.

The state is expected to generate about $47 million with it.



  • Your God Sokar

    How’s about you tax the Clinton Foundation, “Autism Speaks”, “Goodwill” and the churches instead?

  • pjw1981

    wow then yes screw everyone else over cause the lawmakers want to pocket all the money in there checkbooks and spend loads of money on crap that we don’t. Cause people are to chicken to stand up for what they really want like more jobs, fix the highways faster like 81 which is a fricking joke. Tax the hell out of everything then that’s why people are living pa cause it became the state of laziness, and free handouts to everyone. But yet people that really need help can not get it like section program is always backed up for 2 years or more. And a lot of landlords wont take it because people are ruinning it for those who need it. But yet tax everything and anything. Cause you guys can not take a 25% cut in your pay because you think you are special. Well get a clue most of you guys were elected by people like myself and others in the surrounding area. If it was not for the middle and lower class you would not have your 6 figure paychecks every month and house that are more like mansions. We need more jobs and bring business in the area not loss it to wack jobs that don’t even know how to balance a budget on time. Bring stuff in that is needed not spend it on your fat paychecks. And people also need to speak up and take a stand on stand and stop saying it does not affect you. Cause now it is.

  • Nicole

    This is bullshit. How can you tax digital media?? Especially if there are only 20 states doing it. I’m getting about sick of “my country”. Fined for not having health care….taxes on iTunes… And no one else thinks this is ridiculous

  • Charlie

    Actually just buy a vanilla visa gift card 5.95 and add up to 500 bucks to it at the register. You can use card right away.Then register the card with a zip code in a state that doesnt charge taxes. Then use that card for your apps. And any online memberships. I have a card for the xbox and ipads. You can use any name address you want. Not sure how it would work for the phone though.

    • HALLO?

      You can’t use any name you want. When you register any card you also have to supply your social security number in the name of National Security, which corresponds with your legal name. Same can go for the address, a majority of card companies check addresses with credit bureaus to prevent money laundering as required by Federal law. Having the card registered in Florida, but always reloading it in PA will flag your card to be investigated. Then there’s the issue when you lose the card, you can’t get it from the mail in another state with a made up address.

      • Goodbye

        See this is the major malfuntion of people. Most can read ,but many can’t comprehend. Specifically said VANIllA VISA GIFT CARD ! Not talking about those other cards like greendot where yes you have to give SS # real name address. Vanilla visa gift cards with whatever amount you put on them at register, once the money is used, you cannot reload more on them. You have to buy another card. Been doing this for yrs with xbox account. Not gonna use real credit card with them . They get hacked too often. Once the money is used for games/movies, i just buy another card with 25 or 50 bucks then add it to my account which i dont use a real name or address for either. Maybe you willhave to google the card because you simply dont get it.

  • Lloyd 2016

    You gotta love the system. We elect people to decide on how to charge us money. It’s amazing.

  • Andy Polnasek

    so how dose this work, if i am out of state and download a song to my phone do i still have to pay my state for it

    • HALLO?

      Yes. It won’t matter on the phones location, you could be in Jabip. It will go off your billing address like when you buy products online that are taxed.

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