The General Assembly passed the tax this spring to raise $250 million a year for education. Democratic leaders described the proposal as a targeted tax on social media and Internet giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, which tailor online ads based on user data. The tax is levied on the big companies who run the ads, but the new coalition argues the expense would be passed on to those who buy the advertisements.
The tax was approved on a party-line vote in March, just as the coronavirus pandemic was prompting nationwide shutdowns, and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed it in May. The General Assembly, where Democrats hold a veto-proof majority, will take up whether to sustain or overturn the veto when it reconvenes in January.
The coalition includes the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, the state’s chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business, the Maryland Retailers Association, and the Maryland,-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.
The Washington Post is a member of the association. The owners of The Post and other news organizations opposed the tax because they believed it would apply to smaller news publishers that rely on digital ads.