40% Porn ‘Excise Tax’ Proposed in Alabama

Aug 4, 2015 2:01 PM PST

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is the latest state to propose an additional sales tax on the receipts from sexually oriented materials.

A new 40 percent “excise tax” bill wending its way through the Legislature would be far-reaching and draw on the sales of adult videos, websites, magazines and "devices and equipment."

State Rep. Jack Williams’ bill, designed to help fill a $250 million state budget deficit, had 26 co-sponsors when it was introduced yesterday.

Sexually oriented materials that would be under an excise tax are described in HB39 as “any book, magazine, newspaper, printed or written matter, writing, description, picture, drawing, animation, photograph, motion picture, film, video tape, pictorial presentation, depiction, image, electrical or electronic reproduction, broadcast, transmission, video download, telephone communication, sound recording, article, device, equipment, matter, oral communication, depicting breast or genital nudity or sexual conduct.”

But the tax would not apply to “motion pictures designated by the rating board for the Motion Picture Association of America by the letter ‘R’ for restricted audiences, persons under 17 years of age not admitted unless accompanied by parent or adult guardian, or the designation ‘NC-17' for persons under 17 years of age not 25 admitted.”

The bill does not mention sex toys and novelties, likely because Alabama continues to have a statute banning the sale of them. The law was upheld in 2005 by U.S. justices, who let stand a lower court ruling that said Alabama had a right to police the sale of devices that can be sexually stimulating.

Residents may lawfully purchase sex toys out of state for use in Alabama, or use them if the devices have other recognized medical uses.

While projected to increase revenue, the direct impact of HB39 if it is passed into law is unclear.

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