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Nevada recently changed the Entertainment tax on certain sex workers. While some sex workers will remain unaffected, others such as escorts will now have their services taxed, because the bill states that if a company does business outside then a nine percent tax will be charged to their customers. The wording was changed to include outdoor entertainment services, a category which the escort services will fall under.
Bill 266 states that escort companies will have to charge their customers a nine percent tax to use their facilities. Insertion of this tax has triggered negative reactions by some. For instance, brothels have tried for years to be taxed by Nevada. However, they will remain exempt. The difference between the two is considered to be all in the wording to many people, but the bill states that escort services have nothing to do with sex.
This is probably because brothels are more open to what they actually do. They do not hide the fact that their customers come to them for sexual favors. Susan Lopez, who established the outreach project for sex workers in Las Vegas, has said that if the government would tax them it would be as if they were accepting them as any other business venture. Lopez also co-created a national system for encouraging the rights of sex labors. According to Lopez, taxing them would give them the structure of a legitimate profession, and that could be the reason for the states reluctance.
Nevada’s choosing to restructure their entertainment tax only on certain sex workers was based on a realistic decision not a moral one, according to Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who is the minority leader and co-funded the bill. She says that it was worded differently to be clear and precise that casinos and strip clubs cannot avoid being taxed by doing business outside on the streets. Kirkpatrick says this closes the gaps, and makes the loopholes disappear. These variations were made to be unbiased to all forms of income, and the linguistics are now consistent. Kirkpatrick is married with six children, and considers herself to be an entrepreneur and a public activist, as well as a frontrunner for the assembly. She has volunteered on many political campaigns, as well as with the public school systems. It is through this commitment that she decided to pursue the election of the Nevada state assembly. She has been endorsed by many civic organizations as well.
In May of 2013, the bill was introduced by Kirkpatrick and included taxes on movie theater tickets. Any business that charges an entrance fee will be subjected to the tax.
It can not be denied any longer that ‘sex sells’ and Las Vegas is the most prominent place for it. After all, it did not get the nick name ‘sin city’ for no apparent reason. Prostitution has been around since practically the beginning of time, and the only place it is legal is in certain parts of Nevada since 1971. In Las Vegas it may not be legal to be a sex worker, but there are legal ways just outside of the city to be employed. One does not have to look far in Las Vegas to find sexual exploitations. Just outside of the city is the Nye country where Sheri’s Ranch is located, and is a legal brothel where anyone can visit. It is also the city where Apple’s co-creator, Ron Wayne, resides.
The new restructuring of Nevada’s entertainment tax affecting only certain sex workers may make it harder for prostitution to exist. However; the sex trade has been around for so long, and it is evident that if someone is willing to pay for sex they will be able to get it.
By Katherine Miller-Chichester
Edited by Chanel van der Woodsen
cdclv.unlv.edu: Sex industry and sex workers in Nevada
LVRJ: Nevada Entertainment tax bill introduced; would apply to movie tickets too
Marilyn Kirkpatrick.com: Marilyn Kirkpatrick
Photo Courtesy of James Marvin Phelps Flickr Page – Creative Commons License