Archive for Monday, November 28, 2005

Even tax foes support porn tax

Anti-tax lawmakers could make exception for X-rated products

November 28, 2005


— Several lawmakers who signed a promise to oppose all tax increases say they could support a proposed tax increase on X-rated businesses and products without breaking their word.

"A pure tax increase, I would have to vote no," state Sen. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, said.

But she said she wholeheartedly could support a tax increase on X-rated products if there was a similar-sized tax cut someplace else.

She said perhaps the statewide property mill levy could be reduced, or tax breaks could be extended to certain nonprofits.

O'Connor said of the X-rated industry, "we shouldn't make life too terribly easy for them."

A proposal that has been endorsed by a special panel of lawmakers would impose a 10-percent excise tax on adult-entertainment businesses and products, such as videos and books.

It is being pushed by Rep. Shari Weber, R-Herington, in response to a number of adult-oriented businesses along Interstate 70 near Abilene.

Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said he wouldn't support a tax increase "on an up or down vote."

But, he said, if the proposal were part of a package that resulted in a tax decrease, he could support it.

Huelskamp recently was named as a "hero of the taxpayer" by nationally known anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, who is president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Karl Peterjohn, executive director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network.

Norquist devised the taxpayer's pledge, in which signers vow to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes. Thirty-one legislators in Kansas have signed the pledge, including O'Connor and Huelskamp.

Peterjohn said his group would oppose any tax increase, including Weber's proposal.

"We oppose all tax increases, so we are consistent in that regard," Peterjohn said.

He said his group would provide information about any legislator who signed the anti-tax pledge and then voted for a tax increase.

But when told some pledge signers thought they could vote for the so-called "porn tax" if it included a similar reduction in another area, Peterjohn said that may be acceptable.

"If it's a net decrease in overall taxes, I don't see how it's a tax hike," he said.

Still, he said, the measure would have to be "constructed pretty carefully."

And, he added, he would caution legislators that what government taxed it soon relied on for a revenue stream.


Sigmund 12 years, 5 months ago

When it comes to greed and hypocrisy, nobody does it better than the Kansas Legislature. For those on the Left, doesn't it bother you that your "sin" taxes impose deist religious views by force of law? For those on the Right, doesn't your "promise" not to raise taxes mean anything to you?

The fact is that by raising taxes, no matter how "noble", the Legislature will take more money away from the private sector and puts it in the hands of politicians. This means the citizens of Kansas will have less money for gas, heat, clothes, food, not to mention discretionary spending.

Like it or not, pornography is protected free speech. Who is going to decide what videos, magazines, books and internet sites are pornographic? I can't wait for the committee hearings, maybe they will also be X-rated and you can tax yourselves.

Ragingbear 12 years, 5 months ago

It don't really matter. There is tons of free porn all over the Internet. This is just another way for the neocons to try to push out businesses they don't like.

Watch out, they may try to push out day care facilities someday because they feel that the women should stay at home and take care of the kids.

christie 12 years, 5 months ago

One day I see tax breaks for women who wear burkkas. Bin Laden would be proud.

Spareme 12 years, 5 months ago

It's all just politics. They want one campaign slogan to use against anyone who doesn't vote for this tax and one to use for themselves as they vote for it.

They know this isn't putting any porn shops out of business, it's all about winning elections.

How about concentrating on rising health care costs, increased funding for schools, affordable housing for the poor.........that's what Jesus would do!

gontek 12 years, 5 months ago

Most of the porn sales go on in hotel rooms I think. Are they going to tax that porn too? - that would be the way to do it.

badger 12 years, 5 months ago

'O'Connor said of the X-rated industry, "we shouldn't make life too terribly easy for them."'

You know, is it just me or is taxing businesses (ostensibly to raise money for governing the state) and hoping that it decreases their likelihood of success (thus decreasing the revenue the state will receive in taxes) a little, well, counterintuitive?

The little lady there needs to make up her mind as to whether she wants more money to run the government or not, based on whether she wants there to be more porn sold or less...

Peterjohn seems to have his head on a little straighter: "And, he added, he would caution legislators that what government taxed it soon relied on for a revenue stream."

How are these folks going to feel in a couple of years when porn businesses come and say, "As a much more important portion of your tax base than we previously were, we'd like you to consider some changes in your obscenity laws..."? You know, now that I think about the fact that this will give purveyors of porn more political power than they have, perhaps I'm in favor of it after all?

Jamesaust 12 years, 5 months ago

"A proposal that has been endorsed by a special panel of lawmakers would impose a 10-percent excise tax on adult-entertainment businesses and products, such as videos and books."

I suppose I'd have to see the language.

It certainly is workable to tax businesses that derive a significant percentage of revenue from adult products (all sales by such business regardless of the classification of each item). However, I would foresee significant problems in taxing the products themselves. What is an adult product? What standards are to be used to answer this? Is there to be a Porn Committee that decides what is pornography versus merely prurient? Is Playboy pornography? Maxim? Esquire? Does the Legislature hope to tax items sold over the Internet? Delivered over the Internet? How would that be enforced? Are "juice clubs" pornography? Do standards for obscenity vary within Kansas? Can a tax on non-obscene pornography survive a First Amendment challenge? Can Kansas demonstrate a compelling reason to restrict speech to avoid the Supreme Court's suspicion of laws based solely upon invocations of morality?

Confrontation 12 years, 5 months ago

Rep. Shari Weber, R-Herington, needs to worry more about her own town. Herington is a dirty, sleazy place, even without an adult video rental store or any other adult store. Perhaps she should look at the incredibly high rate of herpes among the youth of Herington instead of worrying about I-70 porn in Abilene.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 5 months ago

This should be fun. It is always amusing when lawmakers, especially christian fundamentalist lawmakers, start trying to define "pornography".

As to the anti-tax crusaders in the legislature: read my lips, breasts, thighs, and hips: no new taxes!

captain_poindexter 12 years, 5 months ago

I would tax people playing magic the gathering. not b/c it isn't christian but b/c they are dorks. that's right, dorks.

lets play magic or lets play like we're vampires...and so on.

got life?

Godot 12 years, 5 months ago

This is a really, really stupid tax proposal. Let them waste their time. It won't hold up in court.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 5 months ago

Every day I'm reminded of how the "separation of church and State" has failed miserably...

Jamesaust 12 years, 5 months ago

It does suddenly occur to me that as BOE Chairman Abrams claims that the teachers of Kansas are foisting pornography upon our children in the guise of literature, that parents should expect to see in the future not only charges for textbook rental but also itemization of the pornography tax as a school fee!!

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