Earlier this summer, we reported that the city of Chicago was planning to institute a so-called “Netflix Tax” that, thanks to vague wording, could force companies to raise the price of pretty much any internet-related service (not just video streaming services like Netflix or Amazon, but also gaming stuff like World Of Warcraft or Xbox Live). Really, though, “Netflix Tax” is just a snappy name for an expansion of an existing “amusement tax” that financially punishes Chicagoans who are foolish enough to try to do something fun. At the time, we figured the people of Chicago would just get over it, put the tax on their famously broad shoulders, and move on with their lives.
However, it turns out we were wrong, and Chicago has responded to the Netflix Tax with a level of vitriol that is usually reserved for those bastards who root for the baseball team on the other side of town. According to The Daily Dot, a group of Chicagoans has filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that the Netflix Tax not only “unfairly punishes them,” but that the city has overstepped its authority by pushing the tax in the first place. One of the claims of the lawsuit (or “da lawsuit,” in the local parlance) is that the city’s amusement tax doesn’t have the authority to make people pay for services that could be used anywhere—like, say, outside of the city. Da lawsuit also specifically highlights Amazon Prime and Xbox Live, both of which offer features that don’t fit under the “amusement” banner (free shipping for the former and things like cloud storage for the latter) and therefore prove that the tax is too poorly defined to be enforceable.
There’s also a whole thing about the way the tax was implemented, with the city’s comptroller apparently imposing it without the approval of the city council, so it sounds like da lawsuit actually has a case against the tax. Of course, this is Chicago we’re talking about—the city that once tore up an airport in the middle of the night because it didn’t want to bother hearing arguments against tearing up the airport—so it’s probably just going to do whatever it wants anyway. Basically, people in Chicago shouldn’t be surprised if they wake up tomorrow to find bulldozers destroying their Netflix accounts.