Proposed Calif. Porn Tax Takes Center Stage at FSC Lobbying Days

Rhett Pardon
SACRAMENTO — As delegates from the adult entertainment business visit Sacramento today to meet with lawmakers as part of Free Speech Lobbying Days, they’ll be focusing on a new attempt to tax the industry.

Assembly Bill 1551, as amended, creates an adult entertainment venue tax that seeks to tax the sale, storage, use, or other consumption of adult materials.

In the past several years FSC Lobbying Days has been used more for public relations than to fight specific legislation, so this year's trek to Sacramento will be livelier.

The piece of legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Chuck Calderon, D-Whittier, is at the heart of the Free Speech Coalition’s two-day docket in Sacramento.

“According to FSC attorneys, this bill is fraught with constitutional problems,” said Matt Gray, FSC’s California lobbyist, “and unfairly singles out the industry, while falsely promoting myths about adult entertainment.”

The tax would “be used to ameliorate the secondary effects of an adult entertainment venue” and help fund anticrime measures, including women’s shelters.

“Like the motion picture industry, we have to compete against overseas competition which pirates our products and sells them over the Internet,” FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said. “More than 50,000 people are employed by the industry in California. Do we really want to compromise those jobs?”