So-called "sin taxes" exist for smoking, gambling and alcohol, and now Illinois has passed a "skin tax" for strip clubs, which backers say will raise up to $1 million a year to fund rape crisis centers in the state.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law creating the Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Fund, sponsored by Democratic State Senators Toi Hutchinson and Sara Feigenholtz. The state senate passed the bill by unanimous vote in May; a similar bill has already passed in Texas.
http://gma.yahoo.com/illinois-governor- … ories.html
it seems a little odd that a place that may encourage sexual assault can help other rape victims
It's ironic... but I've heard people argue that strippers are working (have jobs) and earn money to support themselves and their families... so ...ok. However, I know from research in grad school that the environment is peppered with drug and alcohol abuse that hurts the women and their families. Further, among the men who frequent strip clubs, there are many whose families cannot afford the cost of 'daddy's' strip club spending.... but the government isn't their daddy (whether it should be is another hub). so... i guess this is one attempt to address the problem of assault.
I'm not a libertarian, but I think it's more important that we as a society look at and discuss this issue of 'selling sexuality' in the media and market place... why is it happening? who are the real victims? how can we address the victimology? rather than censor such things. Great thread Stacie!
Question: Will these rape crisis centers help all sexual assault victims or only "legitimate" victims of rape?
Sorry. Couldn't resist.
The timing of this announcement is unfortunate, given the attention the issue of rape is getting with Todd Akins, albeit not in Illinois.
I don't think we can help our thinking to go any other way, MM. Akin's words are at the top of any intelligent and aware person's head today, and this bit of Illinois news seems freakishly timed. When I saw the title of this thread, well, I couldn't help but make the connection.
But about the "skin tax". I am opposed, just as I am to all existing "sin" taxes. My reasoning goes like this: If it's legal, it's not a sin. The skin tax differs from sin taxes only by a "k". Both are levied at people who are perceived by certain others to be doing something wrong, immoral, or both...something just not quite exactly illegal according to the laws we accepted when we allowed our government representatives to vote for us.
What I'd rather see is voters electing lawmakers who understand the concept of budget. The strip clubs are already collecting local and state sales taxes from patrons. There should be plenty in that pot to fund a rape crisis center, if the existing tax money were managed correctly. I know governments are in crisis...but fix/replace the elected spenders my tax dollars pay before they slap another band-aid tax on some sin or skin without addressing the real problem: fiscal responsibility.
The luxury tax, on the other hand, I'm all for.
but how do you define 'luxury'? i think having the cash to stuff in a stoned 18 year-old's g-string a luxury. and this is the issue: how do we define such terms as sin and luxury?
Here's what the US IRS has to say about luxury and sin taxes:
Luxury taxes are taxes on expensive, nonessential items, such as luxury cars. Revenue from luxury taxes is redistributed through government programs that benefit all citizens.
A sin tax is used to discourage the use of products and services that could pose a risk to someone's health, such as alcohol and cigarettes. Puritan colonists used the earliest sin taxes in this country.
You can drill down for more information here: http://www.irs.gov/app/understandingTax … _les01.jsp
hi sally... i don't want to sound like a butthead, but expensive is a relative term. believe me i love the constitution and govspeak, but the way i define expensive may be different from the way you or anyone else defines it. for my family, $20.00 is too expensive for a lap dance. in fact, $10.00 is too expensive for a lap dance. thus, a lap dance (in my world) is a luxury.
I didn't know that 'sin' tax was linked to health risk... i thought it was linked to acts discouraged by 'standard religious principles' related to Christian, Jewish and Islamic concepts. so i learned something new today.
This. I don't care about sin, and I see nothing wrong with consenting adults going to a peep club. i had a friend who made good money as a stripper, and she really opened my eyes as far as my own holier-than-thou BS on that front. She worked, she got paid. I do have some lingering doubts about some of the people who paid to come ogle her tits, but that's the free market for you.
Strip clubs ARE a luxury. Blow a ton of money staring at people's naked bodies? Can't get more wasting-money-for-pleasure-and-self-gratification than that.
i see nothing wrong with using taxes on voluntary, luxury activities like gambling and leering at strippers to fund important social services. In fact, I think it's great: while you're looking at my buddy's peepers, you're also funding something worthwhile. How cool is that?
I like choice-based taxes like this, as opposed to mandatory taxes EVERYONE has to pay. This way, you can choose to do the luxury activity or not, and if you do, okay, you're helping fund something important that the govt might have trouble funding otherwise.
To me, it really isn't anything to do with sin. It's being practical.
Then again, one of my heroes is Emperor Vespasian. (Pecunia non olet.)
Why is a luxury tax any different? Either way you are saying "Yes, you can spend your money as you like, but ONLY if you buy me something I'm too cheap to pay for myself at the same time".
If you want something from your government be willing to pay for it yourself, not just ride on the backs of others. It's a major problem, and one of the big reasons our spending is out of control. We continually find a way to tax someone else for what we want. Well, eventually YOU will be in the "taxed" minority while someone else reaps the rewards of their smart political machinations, spending YOUR money. What do you think all the earmarks congress puts in each year are?
It doesn't matter what you consider sin or luxury to be, personally, wishfully, ethically, or morally. So long as you put your representatives in office and let them vote for you, they will determine and define taxation and tax law for you.
Have you considered that sin/skin taxes target addictions? Gambling, sex, smoking, drinking? There's something grossly wrong with that. Instead of focusing efforts on building a culture with relationships that don't promote addiction, the government is taxing addiction. The nonsense of that boggles my mind.
And here I've been wondering why more money is not devoted to researching a cure for addiction.
We don't really want to lose out on all that sin tax revenue, now do we?
that's why i think our society should look at and discuss this issue of 'selling sexuality' in the media and market place... also addictions in general. As a culture we need to address the WHY of our social problems. I don't think we do that. But for now, at this moment, we need centers to assist assault victims, homeless people, patients with HIV or cancer, children who are not insured, etc. And yes, our government spends money on stupid, wasteful things. I don't know whether we can fix that in the grand scheme of things. But right now, we need to find ways to help people and the chasm between this group and that group has made it impossible to help anyone without pointing specifically at a source for the $$$. In a perfect world, everything would be different... but if this is the only way to help people within the context of today's world, what else can we do???
If that's your position, that it's OK to levy a sin/skin tax to "help people within the context of today's world...", then you've given up and joined the ranks of the silents. That is your choice. And in making that choice, you've given the stamp of the seal of approval for others to take your decision-making abilities away from you. I don't fault you for this...we fell into this sheep-like behavior without knowing it was happening. We've all been blind-sided. But once we know we have been, it's time to step up and out.
and what have you done lately to change the world? have you marched on your capital? have you protested? have you spoken in front of your legislators in session? In my sheep-like state, I've marched on my capital twice. I volunteer at a shelter for people with AIDs /HIV. My son and I make lunches for a soup kitchen on Saturday mornings. Before our last local election, we walked economically depressed neighborhoods and went door to door to offer rides to vote. I support and vote for people I believe will craft fair taxation programs and will make our community better. But that takes time. Right now, there are people out there who need help. I see disabled / mentally challenged people at the soup kitchen who would starve without help; and this is through no fault of their own. Do they deserve help? I think so. But I'm not rich. Do women who are victims of sexual assault deserve help? I think so... how do we fund that help. Any ideas? In my sheep-like state, all I can do is volunteer and vote and work for candidates I think will do the right thing. I guess I should 'step up and out' and just bitch and hope things get better while the people who need help now, right now, don't get that help. I mean after all, tax dollars should only go to support programs that help the people who have paid those specific tax dollars. I guess in my sheep-like state, I've developed the belief that human beings who are in need are more important than my specific political agenda.
I will never understand the ethics of taxing a particular group of people to pay for something they don't get to use, or that everyone uses.
A few years ago the state of Idaho did a complete renovation of the capital building, to the tune of several million dollars, paid for 100% by cigarette taxes. "Hah! We forced those evil cigarette addicts, typically poor and under educated, to pay for our brand new capital! We didn't have to get a dime from most of our citizens! Aren't we great!?"
On a recent trip to Texas our large group considered renting cars to drive to a nearby town. Until we found that Houston imposed such a huge tax on car rentals that it more than doubled the price. Tax the visitor to pay for city parks and buildings for the residents! (We declined to support those city residents).
A gas tax, used to repair/build roads, is one thing. Simply taxing a small group of people because they don't have the political pull to prevent it is just wrong. If the city (state, federal) government needs money, let the people using the service pay for it themselves.
It may be an easy tax to get through - the majority that won't pay it drool at the mouth at just the thought of all that free money, particularly when they can simultaneously coerce the payer to stop their evil ways. That doesn't make it right.
You are right (in my opinion) about everything you said. We are the jerks for letting these travesties happen. We let them happen by being silent.
By being silent and by applauding our politicians for doing it.
A politician that can sneak in a new beautiful museum for their states capital city into the federal budget (let someone in another state pay for my museum) is not derided for his "theft" - he's reelected as a hero!
I wonder how what percentage of these taxes, that tax a select group to provide general funds, fail? And of those, how many fail on the grounds that they aren't fair to the targeted population? Any of them, or are we all so greedy for our government handouts that we'll steal from anyone at all?
so wilderness, you don't think people should pay property taxes that go to local schools if they don't have children?
I would have to say that educating our children has a very definite positive effect on the country as a whole, and that everyone benefits from that activity.
Should taxes (of any kind) go to providing before or after school day care so that parents can both work to buy more toys? No.
I pay an RV tax each year for my motorhome, but get absolutely nothing for it that everyone else does not get as well. Why? I already pay far more in fuel tax to compensate for road wear (or would if I used it more) so why am I being singled out to provide even more funds than anyone else?
Why does the purchaser of a luxury car pay a much higher sales tax rate than anyone else? Just to be able to cut the rate for everyone else?
Do you see the difference in these examples? Schools benefit everyone, not just the parents with kids in school. The others benefit everyone except the one paying by effectively lowering their taxes.
Who knows? I would guess, and it's only a guess, into funds for campgrounds and other entertainment provided by the forest service. While I have access to, and use, some of these things they are equally available to anyone else not paying the RV tax.
Campgrounds collect fees to use them, and I believe those fees provide most of their support costs. It isn't enough - soak the RV user. (And most motorhome owners will seldom stay in a forest service campground as very few have hookups to accommodate them. Some do, but most don't).
I thought your point was interesting, so I did some research on it. You are right... RV owners take a heavy hit in yearly taxes. But according to NJ tax rules, rv registration fees go to highway and county road maintenance... not to rv parks. One site I found online offered info on Colorado RV taxes... I guess more people there use RVs for camping. The Colorado argument revolves around the Gross Vehicle Weights (GVW) in excess of 20,000 lbs that damage roads as much as commercial vehicles (which also take a heavy hit for road use). The Colorado legislator is also considering a "Gross-Ton-Mile" tax for every mile an RV is driven on Colorado roads. But again there as in my state NJ, the fees go to road repair and manitenance. So maybe, just maybe, your fees are helping the country by allowing people like me to get to work and pay my income taxes. just sayin'
is there evidence that shows people leave strip joints and then go out and assault women?
by Susan Reid 8 years ago
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