California's 25% Porn Tax Defeated

SACRAMENTO — Assembly Bill 2914, which would have imposed a 25 percent excise tax on adult products and productions, has died in committee.

The outrageous tax burden would have applied to all businesses that either sell or produce sexually explicit shows, movies, books and magazines — as well as websites.

Proposed by Democratic Assemblyman Charles Calderon, the tax was intended to offset the harms that opponents claim the industry creates, including "numerous health, safety and societal problems, including reducing property values in affected neighborhoods and encouraging unsafe sex and aggressive attitudes toward women."

According to Diane Duke, Executive Director of FSC, who attended one of the bill's hearings, the people Calderon got to testify were very inflammatory.

"[They] were telling lies about the industry; that people were committing suicide and that drugs were rampant on the set," Duke said. "Of course, we had people from the set there to testify that [those things] are not happening."

Some opponents opposed the bill on the belief that the government shouldn't be involved in people's sex lives; some saw it as a violation of free-speech rights as it singled out the adult industry, which could have been forced to leave the state; while others saw it as a simple case of the Democrat's trying to pile more taxes on legitimate business owners.

While Calderon claimed that his bill didn't cast judgment on adult content but was only targeting his claimed "negative financial impacts" of adult entertainment and thus would survive court challenges, his ruse was transparent; despite the bill's wording that the tax was "not intended as a prohibition of legally protected forms of expression."

Calderon hoped that AB 2914 would raise $260 million annually to offset the notoriously poor budgetary discipline exercised by the state's legislature; using the "sin tax" revenues to replace other tax-based revenues used for some health and public safety programs.

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