Kansas Lawmakers Look at Porn Tax

Kansas Lawmakers Look at Porn Tax
Matt O'Conner
TOPEKA, Kan. — Following the lead of states such as Utah, Missouri and Oklahoma, Kansas legislators met Monday to discuss the merits of a state tax that could raise the cost of adult materials by up to 20 percent in that state.

The idea is being pushed by anti-adult crusader Phillip Cosby, familiar to XBiz readers as the man responsible for convincing prosecutors to file obscenity charges against an Abilene-based Lion’s Den adult retail store. That case goes to trial in September.

Cosby also has tried but failed to get a number of other adult businesses shut down over the years.

Now he is trying a different approach, arguing that adult stores, like tobacco and alcohol, bring harmful secondary effects to the communities in which they locate and should, therefore, be taxed to offset the damage they do.

“If these things are going to impact the community, then let’s hit them in the pocketbook,” Cosby said.

Once again, Cosby has succeeded in swaying some powerful players to his side. House Speaker Doug Mays and Rep. Shari Weber are both onboard with the idea.

“All I know is that if you subsidize something, you get more of it, and if you tax it, you get less of it,” Mays said. “It’d be nice to have less porn.”

Weber added that the additional revenue could be helpful at a time when the state is looking for money to fund school programs.

Other state’s have passed or proposed similar legislation with mixed results. Utah in 2004 imposed a 10 percent tax on sexually oriented businesses. A coalition of such businesses has filed suit to block the law, and the case is pending.

The Oklahoma House earlier this year passed similar bill that was shot down in the state’s senate.

Missouri legislators proposed an even more aggressive measure that would have placed a 20 percent surcharge on adult items and a $5 admissions fee to adult businesses, but it was dropped in favor of a compromise banning nude dancing.