Sex

The Bunny Ranch And Community Center

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Get thee to a bunny ranch!

Nevada, suffering from a $3 billion budget crisis, passed on a chance to raise at least $2 million a year. Yesterday, lawmakers said "No Thanks" to a $5, er, service tax, for duties performed by the state's few legalized brothels.

Despite support from the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, a state senate committee voted the tax down 4-3. As the AP story notes, the issue has created strange bedfellows: small business owners and tax-hungry Democrat senators:

"I don't know why people won't recognize that we have a legal industry," said [state] Sen. Bob Coffin, who is pushing for a tax on the world's oldest profession. "I'm willing to go in and do the dirty work if no one else will."

Coffin, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Taxation Committee, said the state is desperate for revenue and he "will go anywhere" to find it, including the state's 25 legal brothels.

Prostitution lobbyists and "ranch" owners–actually working to have the tax levied–are looking for legitimacy from a state that already sins to survive:

About 30 percent of the state's general fund budget comes from taxes on the gambling industry, and lawmakers are considering increasing taxes on liquor and cigarettes. The state also imposes a 10 percent tax on admissions, drinks and food at various entertainment venues, including strip clubs, leaving Coffin to wonder why prostitution is not included.

The tax created an eclectic opposition: Religious conservatives and feminists, Republicans and Democrats. It also made for strange, tip-toed responses. Sen. Terry Care (D-Las Vegas) said, "[t]here is an implication there that the business takes a toll, at least on some women" [Italics added]. Sen. Mike McGinness, (R-Fallon) said he voted "nay" because he doesn't believe in taxing services. For Sen. Maggie Carlton ( D-Las Vegas) voting for the tax could have sent the wrong message to parents and daughters.

So brothels want legitimacy, and legislators are either moralists, or too afraid to pop their cherry. As the brothel's lobbyist, George Flint, said:

There's a little electric fence there, and they don't go beyond it very well…Nobody is able to reach a comfort level to just address it objectively.

Here's one idea: Those legal brothels could go ahead and charge johns an extra $5 dollars a pop, then offer that estimated $2 million to cash-strapped programs themselves. While school might have an issue with taking dirty money, surely gramps at the senior center wouldn't complain too much. The best chance brothels have at gaining public recognition as a legit industry is for them to demonstrate their commitment to the community. What  better way than giving a helping hand job?

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  1. The brothel as benevolent organization. LOL!!!!

  2. Sen. Terry Care (D-Las Vegas) said, “[t]here is an implication there that the business takes a toll, at least on some women”

    So what he’s saying is that he thinks taxes are levied based on the, say, social injustice of the business on its participants?

    Is this what the Left thinks of taxes? Really?

  3. For fuck sakes! Is there nothing in this country the blood suckers won’t think to tax? Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze – it never ends! Never thought I’d see Reason advocating a new tax though.

    (Yeah yeah, go ahead and drink.)

  4. Sponsoring little league baseball teams would be an ideal way to demonstrate their commitment to the community and its youth.

  5. “I’m willing to go in and do the dirty work if no one else will.”

  6. smartass sob, where did the article say Reason agreed with the tax? I didn’t read that. The only Reason opinion I read was that Jeff Winkler suggested the brothels collect the fee and donate it.

  7. Under what other situation would the business want their services taxed? The whole thing is bizarre.

    Nick, the article seems to lean pro-tax as the brothel owners believe it will legitimize their trade.

  8. Under what other situation would the business want their services taxed?

    Mine. How I’d love to file US income taxes!

  9. That’s what this country’s come to. That in order to be recognized as legitimate, an entrepreneur will actually lobby for his business to be taxed.

    Kinda like in prison. In order not to be shivved to death, find the biggest guy in the joint and get him to fuck you in the ass every day.

  10. I still don’t think Winkler is in favor of the tax, even if the brothel owners stupidly are. Maybe he’ll comment here to let us know. Maybe other reason staff will as well.

  11. @Nick,

    smartass sob, where did the article say Reason agreed with the tax? I didn’t read that. The only Reason opinion I read was that Jeff Winkler suggested the brothels collect the fee and donate it.

    Alright, upon re-reading the piece I agree – the article doesn’t explicitly support a proposed tax. On the other hand I don’t see a condemnation of the idea either.

  12. ” Sen. Terry Care (D-Las Vegas) said, ‘[t]here is an implication there that the business takes a toll, at least on some women’

    So what he’s saying is that he thinks taxes are levied based on the, say, social injustice of the business on its participants?

    Is this what the Left thinks of taxes? Really?”

    I think it’s more the opposite — that socially unjust institutions should not be taxed. Which is actually stupider, but this is the same movement, more or less, that wants lower nicotine levels in cigarettes because smoking is unhealthy and addictive.

  13. The legislators are just afraid that the ladies might go Galt.

  14. I like it best when they shrug. Grrowl.

  15. any business owner who campaigns for a tax on their line of work is a blithering idiot. Once there’s a $5 tax per customer, that’s a very tempting target for any eager legislator to increase to punitive levels. They already love cigarette and booze taxes because it’s easy to pick on smokers and drunks.

    -jcr

  16. “any business owner who campaigns for a tax on their line of work is a blithering idiot.”

    I totally disagree in this case. By pushing for their businesses to be taxed for revenue necessary to keep the state going, they have essentially made themselves indispensible, better able to survive what I am sure are constant calls to have them shut down by people who can’t mind their own fucking business.

  17. It’s part of US foreign policy that prostitution should be illegal in other countries, and there are financial and diplomatic teeth to this that bit more firmly in the Bush Administration. Nothing would make the family values crowd happier than being able to say that prostitution was illegal in the entire US also.

    So the cost to the business of the tax is far less than the threat of their business being made illegal for “moral” reasons. B at 10:29 has got right.

  18. What’s baffling about the whole “prostitution hurts women” thing is that it hurts them so very much more when it’s illegal. Anyway, I can’t believe they don’t already pay taxes. They must pay some kind of business tax, service tax, something. If they run a legitimate business with no tax overhead, I’m in the wrong profession and the wrong state.

  19. “The brothel as benevolent organization. LOL!!!!”

    Isn’t it already? If I had any connection I would float and push that idea. If you want to be recognized as legitimate by the elected officials go straight to the people that elect them. It would be hard to talk trash on men and women in any organization supporting public projects. Just ask Hamas, it works well for them.

  20. Call it the “Tip Tax”

  21. any business owner who campaigns for a tax on their line of work is a blithering idiot. – J. C. Randolph

    I’d agree with you, J.C., but it is a fact that in some industries, notably agriculture, that’s exactly what happens. Have you ever seen those ads promoting various foodstuffs, like the “got milk?” campaign? Those are paid for marketing boards, and individual producers have fees levied on them that pay for the ads, and other services. I don’t believe participation is voluntary.

    Strange: It’s What’s for Dinner

    Kevin

  22. i have an even more radical proposal: a $5 tax on every act of sexual intercourse, whether it’s in a brothel, a married couple’s bedroom or the back of a chevy, and publish the tax returns for all to see.

    think of the revenue that would be generated. nobody would want to implicitly go on record that they aren’t getting any.

  23. Sen. Terry Care (D-Las Vegas) said, “[t]here is an implication there that the business takes a toll, at least on some women”

    Is there a business in the world that doesn’t take a toll on at least some workers? We could always cover the sex workers with workers’ comp.

    Nobody would want to implicitly go on record that they aren’t getting any.

    But a whole lot of people wouldn’t want their parent to get the memo. Or maybe their spouse.

    “Honey, I don’t remember this one on April 5th. Wasn’t that when I was away on that trip?”

    Any business owner who campaigns for a tax on their line of work is a blithering idiot.

    Marijuana growers/distributors?

  24. What you have to remember is that Nevada is being flooded with new residents, many from California, who are not familiar with the state’s tradition of legalized prostitution and consider brothels in their towns (e.g., Pahrump, a fast growing exurb of Las Vegas) an embarrassment. This worries the brothel owners, who fear that the new residents will vote legal brothels out of existence, as the new Mormon residents did in Lincoln County.

    Making yourself fiscally indispensible–or at least useful–is one way of tryung to avoid this fate.

  25. “What’s baffling about the whole “prostitution hurts women” thing is that it hurts them so very much more when it’s illegal. Anyway, I can’t believe they don’t already pay taxes. They must pay some kind of business tax, service tax, something. If they run a legitimate business with no tax overhead, I’m in the wrong profession and the wrong state.”

    I agree, sex work is a much kinder profession when it’s legal.

    Brothels pay taxes and fees to the counties where they are licensed. Each county sets its own license fees and conditions.

  26. It’s much better to let poor seniors be at the mercy of donors than to give them reliable care. Clearly.

  27. What did the gentleman suffering from Hanson’s disease say to the prostitute, upon completion of the paid-for sex act?

    “You may keep the end of my penis; it has fallen off.”

  28. The morally-dubious industry looked up at the legislative body of the state.

    “Tax me!” gasped the industry, “tax me now!”

    “But, but -” stammered the legislature, “what kind of message would I be sending if I taxed you?”

    “Go ahead and tax me,” the industry whispered seductively, “you know you want it.”

    The legislature felt its greed rise as it gazed on the industry’s big, tempting assets.

    “Do it!” said the industry, “I *want* you to do it!”

    The legislature removed its fiscal restraint and . . .

  29. This is a cash business. How much record keeping does it take for a john to go black market anyway?

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