TALLAHASSEE — It's still in the talking stage, but Florida legislators are looking at next year's budget and trying to figure out how to balance it — and one of the answers they're coming up with is to do it partly on the back of the state's adult industry.
According to an article on MSNBC.com, two (unnamed) state legislators have argued that "new taxes on sex businesses should be considered," encompassing every facet of adult products from sexually oriented websites to the novelties and lingerie sold at boutiques, to DVDs and magazines sold at adult book- and video stores. And they haven't forgotten door fees at adult nightclubs, either.
"If every patron in a strip club paid an extra $5, millions would flow into state coffers in Tallahassee," MSNBC's reporter opined. "Of course, that money would come out of the pockets of dancers and others in the business."
No such content-based taxes have successfully been enacted except for a $5 adult club entry surcharge in Texas, and even those proceeds are being escrowed as Texas club owners continue to fight that "pole tax." Similar attempts in Washington state, New York and California have been defeated, though the latest California proposal, from Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, filed at the end of February, is still working its way through the legislature without much hope of success.
"It's a vast untapped source of revenue in Florida — one that could be as reliable as taxes on drinking and smoking," MSNBC's reporter wrote, recognizing however that, "One barrier to such a tax is that opponents would try to overturn it on grounds it could violate free speech rights."