Just the word Sin Tax gets my hackles up. Not that I mind taxing the fuck out of cigarettes or booze (or the Hedgehog pictured to the right), I just dislike the idea that we are punishing people for their alleged transgressions against God.

Mabye we should pass a noodley appendage tax on people who combine heavy cream, parmesan, pepper, and nutmeg and put the resulting sauce over noodles. This is, afer all, an affront to His Noodleyness! Who would mix cream sauce with the holy meatball anyway? (In his name, rotini gemelli fusilli al dente, Ramen.)

But seriously, I don't mind a tax to recoup the social costs of detrimental decisions (drunken driving and lung cancer), just don't tell me I have to pay because I'm sinning.

With this in mind I'm sure you can imagine my reaction to a Democratic congressman from California introducing a bill in the state senate to tax pornography at a rate of 25% both at production and a second time at the cash register. Yeah, I wasn't so impressed. Then I heard this quote, which made me laugh until I realized he was serious.

"If, in fact, Republicans decide to go back on their blood oath not to vote on any taxes or revenue raising measure, what kind of bill would they vote for?" he asks. "I think this is the kind of bill that they would vote for." All Things Considered, NPR


The $665 million he hopes to raise would go to "counteract the negative impacts of porn on society" (read, create a giant slush fund to cover part of the state deficit). He believes the effects of porn span from STD's to Education. I'll back him on STD's, the porn industry is ridiculous in their anti-condom stance, but I don't buy the education or crime links he asserts. While porn has obvious issues with with mysoginy I hardly think that ou can make the leap to say that it is the root cause of gender inequality or battered women; possibly a contributing factor and certainly a result of deep seated social issues but hardly a cause worthy of draconain taxation to pay for it's effects. Did you know that the porn industry funds it's own clinics to cover mental and physical health of porn stars?

Don't get me wrong, I am not naive about the problems in the porn industry, I just think double taxing one industry to fund the state is unfair and against basic economics. The mortgage industry is looking pretty evil lately, why not tax the shit out of them? You get my point.

The bills entourage of law enforcement, former porn stars who found God, and other fundies are touring the state to drum up support. Interestingly Republicans are dead set against it for economic reasons and refuse to vote on it. Finally a Republican position I can agree with.

For a fun read on the issue check out Violet Blue's take on this bill from SFGate.