Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tapping New Sources of Green

Link to February 28 New York Times article, "Struggling States Look to Unorthodox Taxes".

Rep. Mark Miloscia, a Democratic state representative from Washington, suggested a tax on pornography -- 18.5 percent on everything from sex toys to adult magazines.

The reaction, in Miloscia's own words: "People came down on me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t quite understand. Apparently porn is right up there with Mom and apple pie.”

I wonder if he had any input from the folks in Utah?

In California, Tom Ammiano, a Democrat representing California's 13th Assembly District (San Francisco), suggests legalizing and taxing marijuana. According to Betty Yee, chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization, this proposal could raise nearly $1,000,000,000 a year. Retailers would be charged a fee of $50 per ounce. Not to mention $400,000,000 in additional sales taxes. That additional revenue, in part, could certainly provide a shot in the arm for library funding. (Oops! Wrong drug metaphor.)

Other ideas from this series of "everything is on the table" discussions:

State Senator Bob Coffin, an Independent Democrat from Clark County, plans to introduce legislation to tax Nevada's brothels, with a fee structure "based on the amount of activities". Senator Coffin, an itemized list, please! (OK, but I just can't resist. The first item on the "Personal and Professional Achievements" portion of Coffin's resume is the Charles Dick Medal of Merit. My apologies to the National Guard for making light of this award. But then, as you can see from this LA Times headline, I'm not the only one having fun at Sen. Coffin's expense.)

And a group of Hawaiian legislators proposed legalizing same-sex unions as a way to turn around a slumping tourism industry.

And here in Wisconsin, all our legislators can do is work up a sweat over taxing haircuts.

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