Calif. Porn Tax Proposed; Rate Not Yet Set

Steve Javors
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California Assembly bill introduced by Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-Whittier, is seeking to tax the sale, storage, use, or other consumption of adult materials, the percentage of which has yet to be determined.

Assembly Bill 1551, as amended, would levy a tax on adult products and on adult bookstores’ gross receipts from the retail sale of adult materials in an effort to combat supposed secondary effects. The bill alleges that the presence of brick-and-mortar adult retailers have negative effects on the community.

Funds from the tax would go to four places: local law enforcement to combat criminal activity in the vicinity of adult stores; programs to address decreased property values resulting in losses in property tax; provision of funding to address increased educational costs and funding to address related health issues including disease transmission and mental health treatment.

“We still have not determined the percentage of the tax,” Calderon’s Chief-of-Staff Tom White told XBIZ. “The bill would be amended with that number. First, the state Board of Equalization would determine the fiscal impact of the tax. Once a number is put into play, the board determines what it thinks the revenue estimates are.”

White said that he expects the Policy Committee to hold a public hearing on the bill in the next three to four weeks, at which point it would go through various state committees before the full assembly votes. After that, the bill would go to the state Senate, assuming there are no changes. If the bill is amended in the Senate, it would go back to the Assembly.

“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.”