Wash. Porn Tax Bill Dumped

Wash. Porn Tax Bill Dumped
Tod Hunter
OLYMPIA, Wash. — A state bill that would have added an 18.5 percent sales tax to adult entertainment materials has been dumped without a hearing in the state Legislature.

Rep. Ross Hunter originally said he would give a hearing to House Bill 2103, but changed his mind after seeing the proposed legislation on the grounds that under the Streamline Sales Tax Agreement he has an obligation to help Washington simplify its tax structures — and a bill that would put a different sales tax on goods based on content would complicate matters.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mark Miloscia, wanted to use the tax to fund a program for vulnerable citizens, General Assistance-Unemployable, which is in danger of losing funding.

"We're in the crisis of a generation," Miloscia said. "I'm looking for all sources to try and find money for programs that I care about like GAU, and it's from an industry I think I wouldn't affect at all."

Unfortunately, Hunter said, the differential retail behavior based on content is too gray an area to tax.

"What's that bakery in Wallingford?" Hunter asked, referring to the Erotic Bakery, which supplies X-rated baked goods for bachelorette parties. "I don't think I'm going to do a differential sales tax on food because it has a large organ on it," Hunter said.

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