Nevada Brothels wanting to pay state tax – but finding it a tough sell

January 26, 2009

CARSON CITY (ChattahBox) — Despite a large state budget gap, Nevada politicians are not to eager to accept an offer by Brothels to join the state’s tax rolls. George Flint, director of the Nevada Brothel Association, has been lobbying for months to have the state’s 25 legal brothels pay taxes, The New York Times reported Monday. Flint’s proposal is an entertainment tax that would require the state’s 25 legal brothels to give the state some money on a per-transaction basis. Flint acknowledges that the tax effort is “something of an insurance policy” against the Legislature’s deciding one day to do away with the industry.

“Anytime you’re going to take tax money, the state’s not going to view you as a relic of a past time and put you out of business,” explained

Brothels, legal since 1971, pay 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. 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.

Still, politicians facing a $1.8 billion shortfall this year, are not jumping on the bandwagon to tax brothels,fearing that to do so the state would have to legalize prostitution in the largest counties. Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons’ budget proposal includes 6 percent pay cuts for teachers and a 36 percent reduction in spending on higher-education as it tightens it’s belt. Nevada has added more than two million residents and become significantly more socially conservative, and politicians do not want to be seen as adding further legitimacy to prostitution.

Incoming state Senate Taxation Committee Chairman Bob Coffin has said he will review the issue in a hearing next month. Flint, however, said, state House Speaker Barbara Buckley told him, “as bad as it is … I don’t think we want to go there.”


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