Thursday, January 18, 2007

Campfield's new bill is a great idea

State Representative Stacey Campfield has presented an innovative new bill that would tax pornography in place of food. The legislation proposes that pornographic items such as X-rated movies, magazines, and strip clubs would be taxed.

Campfield was correct when he told the News-Sentinel:

"The porn industry is probably much more powerful and much more profitable than most people realize in Tennessee."

Stacey is quite right, and all you have to do is take a trip through the more seedy parts of Knoxville every day like I used to have to do (by bus) to see that porn is big business. Out here in White Pine, where I now live, it is easy to avoid such crap-but in Tennessee's urban and some suburban areas it is to be found in abundance. Stacey called me about this legislation last night before word about it broke in the press, and I gave it an unqualified endorsement.

I opposed Senator Doug Jackson's bill because it would be an outright ban and would be contrary to the First Amendment in both spirit and letter. In opposing it, however, I did say and do believe that the State has the right to regulate the pedding of smut. If the State has the right to regulate something, it certainly has the right to tax it and that has nothing whatsoever to do with anyone's First Amendment rights. You will still be able to by the latest DVD of Chitty-Chitty Gang Bang if you please, but if you can afford that sort of thing, you can afford to pay a couple of bucks more for it.

Bredesen says it is unconstitutional-that's the argument they are using to try and derail this bill? If that is true, then taxing my tickets to a Smokies game is also unconstitutional, since in both cases you are taxing a form of entertainment that certainly would involve the rights of free speech and free association. I demand that the State of Tennessee cease taxing my Smokies tickets, they are violating the First Amendment.

I got a real kick out of this tidbit in the KNS:

Tracy O'Neill, who represents such clubs as lobbyist for the Tennessee Cabaret Association, said the Utah law had been challenged in court and has produced no revenue.

Try and put "Utah" and "strip club" in the same sentence without rolling on the floor laughing until your gut hurts. Everywhere else, such a tax would certainly work.

Then there is this quote:

She compared the store's stock to cigarettes, saying that a high tax does not deter use of tobacco.

"I think (lawmakers) just target stuff that is a big moneymaker," Dunn said. "You don't really hear them talk about a tax on items that aren't very popular."

It is supposed to make money, that's the point! Neither Stacey nor I want to ban it-we want to tax it. Legislators and Governor...are you telling Tennesseans you would rather tax corn instead of porn?

Rep. Campfield, asked me not to blog about this until it broke in the press today since he had already given te News-Sentinel the scoop. I told him I thought this was a grand idea and a way that the grocery tax could at least be lowered significantly. Even if the bill doesn't pass or make it to the floor, I think Campfield should try attaching the idea as a rider or amendment to another bill.



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