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Coffin’s Flat-on-Your-Back Tax

Monday was yet another bill submission deadline, and Nevada’s tax-happiest legislator didn’t miss the opportunity.

Sen. Bob Coffin (D-Las Vegas), Chairman of the Senate Higher Taxation Committee, called for a new 12-cents per mile weight-distance tax on truckers, along with a new $5 tax on the customers of prostitutes, legal and illegal. I guess you could call that a weight-distance tax of sorts, too, but I’m not sure how you would measure it.

“The bill directs the prostitute to either collect the tax from each patron or pay it herself,” reports Geoff Dornan of the Nevada Appeal, “fill out a quarterly form on her activities and pay the (Taxation) department the money owed.” As if prostitutes working illegally in Las Vegas and Reno are going to worry about breaking the law by not filling out a bunch of government forms and paying taxes on their hard-earned labor.

The most absurd thing about Coffin’s proposed Flat-on-Your-Back tax is that the bill would also create a new government job, the Ombudsman for Sex Workers, who would help prostitutes find other types of employment – thus putting hundreds of pastors, ministers, priests, rabbis and other volunteer social workers out of jobs.

Rather than Mickey Mousing around with this by implementing a back-door tax that almost no one is going to pay and will be next to impossible to collect, perhaps the Legislature should just consider legalizing prostitution in Las Vegas and Reno – where most of it takes place – and simply charge the same sales tax we currently pay for a good meal at a fine restaurant.