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GOP Legislators Oppose Calif. Porn Tax Bill

See it as morally manipulative stratagem

GOP Legislators Oppose Calif. Porn Tax Bill
SACRAMENTO - Republican state legislators have spoken out against California AB 1551, the porn tax proposal scheduled to go before the Assembly Committee of Revenue & Taxation this afternoon.

Drafted by Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Whittier), the bill calls for 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.

Calderon maintains his push to tax the adult industry is unmotivated by moral concerns, but Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) sees the bill as an act of political theater designed to paint opponents as supporters of pornography.

"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," DeVore told the Sacramento Bee.

"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," added Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange.)

Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, pointed out that the bill's inclusion of pay-per-view movies belies Calderon's claim that the bill is intended to provide funds for neighborhoods negatively affected by the supposed "secondary effects" of adult businesses.

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

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

The bill requires the support of at least six Republicans in the Assembly and two in the Senate in order to pass.

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