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Even tax foes support porn tax

Topeka – Several lawmakers who signed a promise to oppose all tax increases say they could support a proposed tax increase on X-rated businesses and products without breaking their word.

“A pure tax increase, I would have to vote no,” state Sen. Kay O’Connor, [pictured] R-Olathe, said.

But she said she wholeheartedly could support a tax increase on X-rated products if there was a similar-sized tax cut someplace else.

She said perhaps the statewide property mill levy could be reduced, or tax breaks could be extended to certain nonprofits.

O’Connor said of the X-rated industry, “we shouldn’t make life too terribly easy for them.”

A proposal that has been endorsed by a special panel of lawmakers would impose a 10-percent excise tax on adult-entertainment businesses and products, such as videos and books.

It is being pushed by Rep. Shari Weber, R-Herington, in response to a number of adult-oriented businesses along Interstate 70 near Abilene.

Sen. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, said he wouldn’t support a tax increase “on an up or down vote.”

But, he said, if the proposal were part of a package that resulted in a tax decrease, he could support it.

Huelskamp recently was named as a “hero of the taxpayer” by nationally known anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist, who is president of Americans for Tax Reform, and Karl Peterjohn, executive director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network.

Norquist devised the taxpayer’s pledge, in which signers vow to oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes. Thirty-one legislators in Kansas have signed the pledge, including O’Connor and Huelskamp.

Peterjohn said his group would oppose any tax increase, including Weber’s proposal.

“We oppose all tax increases, so we are consistent in that regard,” Peterjohn said.

He said his group would provide information about any legislator who signed the anti-tax pledge and then voted for a tax increase.

But when told some pledge signers thought they could vote for the so-called “porn tax” if it included a similar reduction in another area, Peterjohn said that may be acceptable.

“If it’s a net decrease in overall taxes, I don’t see how it’s a tax hike,” he said.

Still, he said, the measure would have to be “constructed pretty carefully.”

And, he added, he would caution legislators that what government taxed it soon relied on for a revenue stream.

 

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