SACRAMENTO — Despite claims that Free Speech Coalition (FSC) had missed the deadline to register official opposition to Asm. Mary Salas' new porn tax bill, FSC Executive Director Diane Duke today announced that the bill had been voted down in the Assembly's Revenue & Tax Committee.
According to FSC's press release, Duke and FSC California lobbyist Ignacio Hernandez had been "carefully strategizing arguments against the tax," and had presented those arguments yesterday in testimony before the committee.
"We are at the California State Capital day in and day out protecting the interest of the adult entertainment industry," Duke said. "Our lobbyist, Ignacio Hernandez had done a great deal of the work to defeat the bill long before we stepped into the hearing room. Once in, we knew what points to stress to help the legislators make the right decision in defeating AB 847."
The bill, analyzed here, would have imposed a 20% tax on all adult materials and services sold in the state, the proceeds of which would have gone into a newly-created Adult Venue Impact Fund, whose purpose would have been to generate subsidies for local law enforcement agencies to ameliorate the alleged negative secondary effects caused by adult businesses. As such, it would have been a content-based tax of the sort which federal appeals courts across the country have repeatedly struck down.
"The bill was clearly unconstitutional," Hernandez said. "We did the work that needed to be done to communicate to key legislators all the problems a tax on adult entertainment would bring to the state of California."
The bill also represents a new record for the Coalition, since thanks in large part to FSC's efforts, the tax was struck down just two weeks after having first been proposed on June 23.