As anyone who has lived in Chicago knows, every day is an exercise in abject misery. Oh, sure, good things happen sometimes—like when the refrigerators broke at the hot dog factory, and they were just handing out free hot dogs to people on the street—but for every delicious, free hot dog they get, a true Chicagoan knows that they’re going to have to eat at least two terrible hot dogs on the way. (People from Chicago think of everything in terms of hot dogs.)
So when an out-of-towner (someone who doesn’t know what “da Jewels” is) hears that the city of Chicago is imposing a so-called “Netflix Tax” on streaming services, they might think this is a big deal. “Oh, those poor midwesterners,” they might say. But no, people from Chicago know this is just another un-dipped Italian beef sandwich, another “L” flag flying over Wrigley Field, and another foot of snow on the lawn chair they’re using to save their parking space. It is, in other words, just the way things go.
So what is this Netflix Tax? According to The Daily Dot, it’s officially referred to as an “Amusement Tax,” and it actually expands one that was already in place. As the article puts it, Chicagoans already had to pay an extra tax on “amusement activities within the city ranging from rodeos to bowling”—both of which are hotdog-friendly events—and now that’s being amended to include “electronically delivered amusements” and “non-possessory computer leases.” Basically, that refers to streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, and it’s vague enough that it could also refer to things like World Of Warcraft, Xbox Live, and the PlayStation Network. Companies could just deal with the cost of this extra tax on their own, but Netflix in particular has already told Ars Technica that it’s going to be slightly raising its prices for people living in Chicago.
That might add up to one or two fewer hot dogs every month, but we can’t imagine the people of Chicago will get too bent out of shape about it. This will just be another bit of misery to throw on the pile. Plus, at least they don’t have to live in a real loser city like New York.