It is virtually unheard of for any legal industry to ask to be taxed. And it would seem even more unlikely for any government, especially one facing down a nearly $2 billion budget gap, to hesitate when a business is willing to pay up. Yet such is the case for Nevada‘s brothels, a $50-million-a-year industry that pays significant amounts of tax to the rural counties in which they operate but only a $100 business license fee to the state.
The industry’s lobbyist, George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Association, has been approaching the Legislature’s leadership for months about creating an entertainment tax that would require the state’s 25 legal brothels to give the state some money on a per-transaction basis. — NY Times
I love the “per-transaction” basis. How does that convert to dollars per splooge?
The back story (sorry) is that Nevada’s economy is in the terlit, and the ‘Pub governor is a no-new-tax type who has to close a budget deficit. The brothel tax would help fill the gash gap, but the governor would rather institute a 6% pay cut for teachers, and reduce higher-education financing by 36%. In sum, he’s willing to screw the education system out of money rather than let screwing help pay for it.
It’s neither selflessness nor patriotism that drives the brothel industry’s offer. They see it as a means to expand into the state’s two largest counties (housing Las Vegas and Reno ), where they’re currently prohibited by law. Unlike the sex trade, the law is complicated and devious, and leaves one feeling dirty.
Oscar Goodman, Las Vegas’ colorful mayor, loves the idea.
“They tell me we’re missing tens of million of dollars that could be used for the school system, to keep jail guards employed, to provide mental health services,” Mr. Goodman said. “I also believe that by regulating and controlling this business, we could make it much safer for the customers as well as the prostitutes. We kid ourselves and we’re very disingenuous if we pretend that there isn’t rampant prostitution now that is unsafe for which we get no tax revenue.”
Yep. Like the drug trade. And (in Florida) gambling. These practices continue no matter what. We can fight them like hell and keep the guns blazing, the courts crowded, the prisons filled, etc., or we can figure out the way to make peace, live together, earn some money. Both ways involve costs, but one makes a profit. Naturally, with government and puritans in charge, we pick the loser.
Everybody knows sex sells. Why can’t we buy it? Why should we let our taxes screw us, and not the reverse?