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#257889 - 07/09/07 02:04 PM X-rated trade targeted by tax measure
Anonymous
Unregistered


From THE SACREMENTO BEE:

X-rated trade targeted by tax measure
Revenue would help fight crime in affected areas, lawmaker says


Tax sex in California?

A state lawmaker is pushing to tax X-rated products, sex shows, and explicit pay-per-view movies to help supplement public services.

Assemblyman Charles Calderon said he is not attacking pornography, only trying to ease its impacts on neighborhoods.

"I'm not concerned with the morality of it," the Whittier Democrat said of pornography. "Is it good? Is it bad? I don't know."

Calderon's Assembly Bill 1551 would assess an 8 percent tax on sexually explicit nightclub acts, items sold by sex shops and pay-per-view movies featuring unprotected sex or X-rated acts in a public place.

"So, Mr. Calderon does not want to tax sex in the bedroom, he wants to tax sex in the backyard," quipped attorney Jeffrey J. Douglas, representing the adult entertainment industry.

AB 1551 would not apply to materials used by schools or sold incidentally in stores, or to nudity in a legitimate theater, ballet, opera, concert or other such performance.

Calderon said the measure could raise $100 million annually for a state facing a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall.

Opponents say their sex life is none of the Legislature's business.

"I think anything that government does to control what we do in the privacy of our own homes, between consenting adults, is completely wrong," said Tia Loya, who sells sex products in Southern California.

Republicans vow to kill AB 1551, saying they oppose tax increases of any kind.

Passage would require a two-thirds majority in each legislative house, meaning it would need support from at least six Republicans in the Assembly and two in the Senate.

"I see this as an attempt by Mr. Calderon to appeal to certain social conservative elements within my party as a way to get more money to spend for his special interest groups," said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine.

Revenue from AB 1551 would be placed in a special state fund for legislative appropriation to law enforcement, health and other affected services.

"I view the bill more as political theater myself," DeVore said.

Other GOP legislators blasted AB 1551 as a partisan move that sets the stage for opponents to be painted as pornography supporters.

"He's trying to guilt-trip us, to shame us into voting for this, but we get the drill because we've been through it before," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange.

A hearing on AB 1551 is pending in the Assembly Revenue and Tax Committee, chaired by Calderon.

Singling out pornography for a special tax could be difficult to enforce and difficult to define, and could violate constitutional rights to free speech, critics claim.

"This is the first time you'd ever be taxing sexual expression," said Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a national trade association for adult entertainment.

Pedestrians interviewed in downtown Sacramento had mixed views.

"They tax everything else, why not pornography?" said Michael Shore, 62. "If it's going to help the community, sure."

Keith Anderson, 53, said he doesn't object to a pornography tax and doubts that it would hamper sales of explicit material.

"People who want it, want it," he said.

But Amber Ruybalid, 17, said that neighborhoods are good or bad because of the people who live in them, not pornography.

"That's going too far," she said of AB 1551.

Calderon said he is confident AB 1551 could survive a constitutional challenge because it targets the social impacts of pornography, not the content itself.

Rather than ban sales or restrict speech, Calderon said his measure simply would raise money to fight crime and property devaluation in neighborhoods affected by X-rated sales or shows.

Cities and counties already regulate adult entertainment firms, treating them differently by targeting their impacts and passing zoning laws to ease such problems, Calderon said.

"I think the state, by extrapolation, can do that as well," he said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department supports AB 1551, noting that adult businesses often are in run-down neighborhoods plagued by prostitution, drug dealing or other criminal activity.

"They're simply adding an extra cost of doing business in order to improve the quality of life of neighborhoods," sheriff's Sgt. Wayne Bilowit said of Calderon's bill.

Duke said any pretense that AB 1551 targets only neighborhood impacts is shattered by its inclusion of pay-per-view movies beamed by cable or satellite firms into homes and hotel rooms.

"I don't understand how it can ruin a neighborhood when Joe Davis, my next-door neighbor, watches an adult entertainment movie," she said.

Attorney Jeffrey J. Douglas, representing the Free Speech Coalition, said lawmakers can't legally use their powers of taxation to attack material they find objectionable.

"The reason is: Why an 8 percent tax? Why not 18 percent? Why not 88 percent? The courts will not put themselves in the position of saying 4 percent is OK, but 4.5 percent is not," he said.

"It's totally inappropriate for government to favor one form of speech over another by using taxation, because of its power to destroy."

Even when adult businesses are visible in neighborhoods, Duke and others dispute that crime necessarily increases.

Some adult businesses, such as Hustler Hollywood, are on extremely valuable commercial property, they note.

Attorney Michael Fattorosi, an attorney for adult entertainment firms, said the industry already is reeling from overseas competition and other competitive pressures.

AB 1551 could force producers of adult entertainment to leave California, he said.

"This could be another nail in the coffin for an industry that's well received by California," he said.

Calderon unsuccessfully pushed a similar pornography tax 10 years ago.

He likened his new bill to the special taxes placed on alcohol or tobacco to reduce societal impacts.

"It's not about prohibiting the use," he said. "It's about putting a tax on the revenues."

+++

Didn't we start a Revolution over crazy-assed taxes?

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#257890 - 07/09/07 02:12 PM Re: X-rated trade targeted by tax measure
Conky Offline
Porn Jesus

Registered: 11/04/06
Posts: 4203
Loc: Bakersfield Plumbing Supplies ...
I can't even begin to imagine how much cash the IRS would make if they just trawled pornoland and swept up all the assholes who think tax are things you hammer into walls.
_________________________
I also am subcribe to postal pornography - CAOH

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#257891 - 07/09/07 02:44 PM Re: X-rated trade targeted by tax measure
pornlaw Offline
AC Cream Wannabe

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 459
Loc: California
Calderon is not even getting support from his own party on this one. Its nice to see politicians standing up for and defending porn, albeit under the disguise of a tax issue.

I was supposed to be in Sacramento for the Committee hearing on AB 1551 on Monday, but surprise surprise, Calderon pulled it from hearing.

I doubt if the bill will die in Committee but it really faces an up-hill battle to make it.

Basically, Calderon told us when we met with him in April that he sees the industry as a cash-cow and wants his share for the state.

Michael

_________________________
Michael www.AdultBizLaw.com

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#257892 - 07/09/07 03:52 PM Re: X-rated trade targeted by tax measure
Habib the gas man Offline
ADT regular

Registered: 06/21/07
Posts: 5
Than he should start taxing the collection plate at church, too. Lots of do-gooder's go to church, and throw their money at an invisible man.

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