Today, taxation is rampant. Almost every entity of government has figured out a way to tax us. I just reviewed my cell and satellite TV bills including their high taxes. The cell bill’s tax rate is over 30% and the satellite TV tax rate is 28.9%. I filled up with gas yesterday and nowhere on the pump was I informed about the taxes I paid on a gallon of gas. According to www.energy.ca.gov, the tax on a gallon of gas in the State of Florida is 48 cents per gallon. Even at our appallingly high gas price of $2.00 per gallon, that is a tax rate of 31.6% on gas, which is an absolute necessity. The time is right to tax people’s vices on a more consistent manner by taxing prostitution.
With such a proposal, the religious community (of which I am a member) and people of a moral character will be up in arms at the mere thought of legalizing and taxing prostitution. They will have their moral outrage sharpened to a fine edge. They will rail against the very notion, and cite example after example of lives ruined by prostitution. Their moral outrage will be palpable; their justifications many!
However, when you dispassionately consider the facts about prostitution, the arguments for legalizing and taxing it are compelling as follows:
1. Prostitution is victimless involving two consenting adults.
2. Both sexes earn livings as prostitutes.
3, Law enforcement (including police officers, judges, jailers, & etc.) spend an inordinate amount of time and resources trying to control prostitution which has no victims.
4. Prostitution is known as “The World’s Oldest Profession” because there has never been a place or time on earth when it did not flourish.
So called “Sin Taxes” exist. To deny the lucrative effects of the sin-tax on our taxation system is ludicrous. Consider the rates of taxes on cigarettes and alcohol. According to www.taxdadmin.org, the tax rate in Florida for liquor is $18.11 per gallon, plus the local tax rate on the total bill. Cigarettes in Florida are taxed $.339 per pack of cigarettes which ranks Florida the 44th highest in the nation. Rhode Island has it right; they tax at the rate of $2.46 per pack of cigarettes, ranking them number one. Obviously the taxation of sins is not a new or alien concept to taxing authorities.
Now consider the impact of taxing just the wages of prostitutes. Since prostitutes are not currently taxed, what would the economic impact be? According to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, there are 22.1 prostitutes for every 10,000 people in the United States. That means that based on a population of 300 million people in the US, there are 300,000 prostitutes working here. According to www.forbes.com, the middle-ranking prostitute, or street walker, (the three types of prostitutes in ascending order are the sex worker, the street walker, and the high-end call girl) makes $300.00 per night. That is $60,000 income per prostitute, (based on working only 200 nights per year) or $18 billion dollars per year which is not being taxed by any taxing authority.
At a nominal tax rate of 28%, that is over $5 billion of uncollected taxes. Add to that the cost of enforcing antiquated prostitution laws, and the increased revenue and savings could be in the $25 billion range.
Our elected politicians have their head in the sand regarding the positive financial impact of taxing and legalizing prostitution. Continuing to ignore this addition to the “Sin-Tax” base is immoral and fiscally irresponsible.
www.forbes.com, Slideshow: “Working Girl Wages: Forbes.com, accessed February 21, 2006
www,pnas.org, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, “Prostitution and the sex discrepancy in the reported number of sexual partners: October 24, 2000, Accessed February 22, 2006
www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/liquor.html, accessed February 22, 2006
www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/cigarett.html, accessed February 22, 2006
www.energy.ca.gov/gasoline/statistics/gas/taxes_by_state_2002.html, accessed February 22, 2006