Brothel tax helps to pay for teachers
Facing a $1 billion deficit (pound;600 million), the Silver State's legislators are turning to the world's oldest profession to raise cash and the predicted pound;3m windfall is earmarked mainly for schools.
Prostitution is legal across much of Nevada and the 28 or so bordellos, home to roughly 3,000 hostesses, do brisk trade with the best-paid women raking in up to pound;30,600 monthly.
The 10 per cent "live entertainment tax" is expected to be approved this week, Lorne Malkiewich, director of Nevada's legislative counsel bureau, told The TES. While critics have complained that the tax lends legitimacy to an exploitative activity, it commands broad support, he said. "We've already taken the position that legal prostitution is better than it being illegal. Now it's also a revenue source."
Across America, anything is fair game as state senators, smarting from a recessionary decline in tax receipts from traditional sources such as income, try to balance their books and keep schools open.
With prostitution remaining illicit elsewhere, different states are turning to other "sin taxes" to keep public education systems afloat.
Five states recently enacted increased alcohol taxes, while Wyoming, the original Marlboro Country, marked up cigarette levies five-fold. Maryland's governor is bidding to install slot machines at racetracks, proceeds from which would generate more than pound;430m a year for schools, he says.
Nevada's escorts are not taking things lying down, complaining that after the state and Uncle Sam take their cut, they will be left with just 20 per cent of earnings.