Calif. Porn Tax Bill Introduced, but Rate Hasn’t Been Determined

Mar 2, 2009 1:15 PM PST
SACRAMENTO — State Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont, has introduced a bill that would place a tax on adult entertainment products sold in California.

The tax percentage was not written into the bill introduced Friday; however, Torrico spokesman Jeff Barbosa told XBIZ that the bill is “still in the beginning process” and that legislative analysts will provide a tax amount shortly.

The timing of Torrico’s proposal comes on the heels of dwindling state coffers, as well as the assemblyman’s push to provide a domestic abuser surveillance fund to track abusers and stalkers.

Barbosa said that the reason the rate hasn’t yet been set was that the bill was submitted at the legislative session’s deadline on Friday.

Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke blasted the tax proposal Monday afternoon.

"I find it more than a little unfortunate that any of California’s legislators would propose a tax on the already struggling adult entertainment industry," Duke told XBIZ. "Our industry is legal, accessed by a broad base of California citizens, already contributes to the California tax base and employs ten of thousands of Californians.

"At a time when all businesses, including those in the adult entertainment industry, are fighting to stay afloat imposing a tax such as this is a really bad idea," she said.

The bill’s language, as it stands, only includes a proposed tax on the sale of “harmful matter” goods at the retail level. Barbosa could not elaborate if the bill could also include downloads.

It follows similar pushes through the U.S. to tax adult, including proposals in Michigan, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and most recently in Washington state, where it was withdrawn.

The porn tax bill, AB 1082, would expand Proposition 83 — the 2006 voter-approved measure requiring that sex offenders wear GPS devices for the rest of their lives — to apply to parolees convicted before the proposition took effect, as well as to domestic violence parolees.

Just last year, Assemblyman Charles Calderon proposed a 25 percent excise tax on adult products, but it died in committee.

Torrico is the Assembly’s No. 2 Democrat. His district covers Fremont, Newark, Union City, Milpitas, and parts of San Jose, Pleasanton, Castro Valley and Hayward.

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