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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nevada Rebuffs Brothels' Request to be Taxed

New York Times:  Brothels Ask to Be Taxed, but Official Sees a Catch, by Steve Friess:

It is virtually unheard of for any legal industry to ask to be taxed. And it would seem even more unlikely for any government, especially one facing down a nearly $2 billion budget gap, to hesitate when a business is willing to pay up.

Yet such is the case for Nevada’s brothels, a $50-million-a-year industry that pays significant amounts of tax to the rural counties in which they operate but only a $100 business license fee to the state.

The industry’s lobbyist, George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Association, has been approaching the Legislature’s leadership for months about creating an entertainment tax that would require the state’s 25 legal brothels to give the state some money on a per-transaction basis. ...

Nevada is the only state where prostitution is legal, but by state law it also is restricted to counties with fewer than 400,000 residents. That outlaws it in two counties, Clark, which contains Las Vegas, and Washoe, which contains Reno. There are about 225 women licensed by the state as prostitutes; no county allows brothels to have men who sell sexual services. ... [Speaker of the House Barbara] Buckley said she did not support taxing brothels because she believed that to do so the state would have to legalize prostitution in the largest counties, “and I just don’t support the idea.”

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I don't know whether to admire the brothel lobbyist for being so enterprising, or to be shocked that Vegas is turning down money over moral concerns.

Posted by: taxrascal | Jan 28, 2009 9:45:33 PM