Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Quote Of The Day: Sex Tax Edition

"Twenty-five percent? What's he trying to do, become a partner?"
-- Jerry Tatarian, strip club operator

A tax on the sex biz, now there's a tax I could ... uh ... get my arms around. Guys like Jerry Tatarian, right, purveyor of Flamingo Showgirls in Anaheim, a nude bar, would have to charge a 25 percent tax on all transactions in his establishment under a bill offered up by Cal Assemblyman Charles Calderone (D, natch).

Calderone says the tax is legit because adult businesses get away cheap and cost local jurisdictions plenty because they spawn prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases and other ills. The bill, says the OCRegister, would add the 25 percent tax to any items sold in an "adult entertainment venue." That would be anyplace that gets at least half of its revenue from sexually explicit performances or from the sale of adult videos, magazines or other media. The tax would be charged on anything sold there, even a pack of gum ... if they sell such stuff.

If they can slap luxury taxes on yachts and high-end autos, why not on porn? It is, after all, anything but a necessity. (Some would disagree. There are various "anonymous" groups they should be attending.) And I kind of like the general idea of sleezeballs paying more than the rest of us. It's only right, right?

But that "D" after Calderone's name keeps bugging me, so I keep thinking, and sure enough there it is, the tax killer. It's not the pleas from the pornographers that their businesses are hurting already and they'll have to lay off strippers if the tax goes through. It's certainly not porn lobbyist Matt Grey, who attacks the bill for not putting a tax on "legitimate" (his quotes) theatrical productions, too.

No, it all boils down to a spokesperson for the local school district, who told the Reg:
"If you can afford to buy… whatever… you can afford to pay tax on it."
Yes, the teacher unions, those champions of unlimited spending with ultra-limited accountability, are behind the tax. Oh, please! Their irritating pouting actually makes me almost sympathetic to the stripper who might get laid off (as opposed to just laid).

The teachers unions offering up a mix of "tax the rich because the bastards deserve it" and a high-volume whine about the poor, poor schools needing more money. Give me a break. The state school budget in CA is protected by law -- it can't be cut. They get lottery money. They exact exorbitant fees from new home construction. They are a huge funnel into which we pour money ... and for what?

Schools get worse and worse. Bad teachers aren't fired. Bad administrators are advanced. And the education gruel served up to students gets thinner and thinner every year.

There are two ways to fix a revenue problem: tax stupider or spend smarter. I'm afraid that puts me with the porn guys on this one. Excuse me while I go wash my hands.

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