Porn Tax Bill Coming to Kansas

Porn Tax Bill Coming to Kansas
TOPEKA, Kan. — There’s no place like home, unless your home is Kansas and you’re in the adult entertainment business.

That’s where local lawmakers agreed on Nov. 9 to introduce a state bill that would impose a 10 percent excise tax on adult entertainment businesses in the state. The measure will face final approval by the state legislature in January.

Everything from strip clubs to escort services and adult video stores would be taxed if the bill passes. Whether the tax will also apply to mainstream video stores that also have an “adult section” has yet to be decided.

“I imagine that out of 165 legislators, there would only be a handful that would not support it,” said Rep. Shari Weber, a Herington, Kans. Republican and the bill's main supporter.

However, even Weber admits potential roadblocks still exist for the bill.

First, several legislatures in the state signed a bill earlier this year pledging to vote down any tax increases in Kansas. Whether that pledge will carry over to the porn bill remains to be seen, and Weber believes most legislatures who signed the pledge will back down because of the bill’s target audience.

“Every legislator has their own idea as to what that pledge applies to,” she said. “Will it impact this bill? Absolutely. [But] once they have the opportunity to study the issue, I don't think there will be much opposition.”

More importantly, however, adult businesses in the state have made clear they would challenge the law in court if it passes, forcing Kansas to show a compelling reason to tax adult businesses differently than others, and First Amendment groups like the Adult Freedom Foundation have come out vehemently opposed to any such tax.

“The AFF urges you and your committee to ignore the bogus anti-pornography information presented to your body and reject the proposed tax,” Paul Cambria, AFF’s general counsel wrote in a recent letter to key Kansas legislators.

Cambria goes on to call Weber’s claim that there is a direct connection between pornography and sexual crimes utter “nonsense.”

“It makes no sense to tax lawful adult entertainment enjoyed by 50 million Americans,” Cambria said.

Legislatures said money collected from the tax would be used for the prosecution and treatment of sex offenders, though exactly how and where that money will be spent has yet to be laid out.