Maryland To Become First State To Tax Google And Facebook Ads

( It might not be the Section 230 reform that conservatives were hoping for, but it looks like Big Tech is finally being regulated, with the state of Maryland reportedly preparing to become the first American state to impose a tax on the sale of online advertisements.

It’s a huge step towards scaling back Facebook and Google’s dominance in the online ad space, an issue that has become the focus of multiple anti-trust lawsuits and investigations.

While the tax is not specifically directed at Google and Facebook, it will automatically target the big market players, Google and Facebook, who control dominate a duopoly in digital advertising.

According to NPR, the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate this week voted to override a veto from Republican Governor Larry Hogan of the bill introduced last year. Under the proposed legislation, companies like Facebook that generate income from selling online ad space would be charged a tax on the revenue they receive for those services.

The bill was originally vetoed after Governor Hogan argued that that tax would increase operating costs for local businesses, claiming that Google and Facebook would increase their prices and pass the cost on to customers.

The tax is expected to land anywhere between 2.5% and 10% per advertisement, depending on the value of the company that sells the ad, and the taxes will only apply to companies that make more than $100 million per year. It could potentially facilitate the breaking up of Big Tech, allowing new platforms to emerge by offering better prices on online advertisements.

Should it finally go ahead, the tax could generate some $250 million every year to help improve Maryland’s public education system.

Breitbart reports how supporters of the tax say that it is a reflection of how the economy has changed, and an effort to modernize Maryland’s tax code.

However, Marylanders for Fair Tax, a collection of businesses from the state, released a statement on Friday criticizing the overriding of the veto.

“In Senate President Bill Ferguson’s short tenure as a leader, he has managed to do what no other Senate President has ever done — raise taxes and costs on Marylanders in the middle of a worldwide pandemic,” spokesman Doug Mayer said.

“There is no doubt what took place today was a historic event, but not in the way President Ferguson hoped. This tax increase was historically shortsighted, foolish, and harmful to countless small businesses and employees, and Marylanders will remember it that way,” he continued.

In response to the criticism, new emergency legislation has since been introduced in the Maryland Senate which would ban Big Tech from passing on the cost of the tax to their customers.

Could this be a big step towards finally regulating our Big Tech overlords?