MORE ON ITALY’S CONTROVERSIAL NEW PORN TAX

 
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IT MAKES SENSE THAT THE COUNTRY WHO STOLE PASTA FROM THE CHINESE SUPPORTS A GOVERNMENT WHICH INSTEAD OF THE PROMISE TO LOWER TAXES CHOOSES TO INVENT NEW AND EXCITING NEW ONES…

ACTUALLY, WE LOVE ITALY AND ALL ITALIANS AND EVERYTHING THEY STAND FOR, INCLUDING THE UNFAIR 25% TAX ON PORN WHICH BECAUSE OF US JUST NOW REALIZING LUKEFORD.COM OWNER AND EDITOR TAYLOR RAIN BEING OF THE ITALIAN FAITH SEEMS LIKE A VERY FAIR THING TO DO.

THAT IS ALL.

 

From The Economist Magazine

“It is not a crusade,” said Daniela Santanche, but “a contribution to the government’s commitment to rigor in the public accounts.”

Santanche, who hails from the right-wing National Alliance, had just succeeded in putting into Italy’s 2006 budget a stiff new tax on pornography and sex goods.

Manufacturers will have to pay a 25 percent surcharge on the profits made from the sale of everything from hard-core DVDs and magazines to pink furry handcuffs. Subscribers to television porn channels will also be hit with an extra 10 percent in value-added tax.

Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right government needs all the money it can lay its hands on. Italy’s budget deficit is well over the ceiling of 3 percent of GDP set by the euro-area’s stability pact. The 2006 budget, due to be adopted this week, tries optimistically to keep it under 3.8 percent.

Even so, few believe that Santanche’s amendment was inspired solely by fiscal prudence. Her party also has a puritanical streak. Yet few legislators have criticized the “porn tax” on these grounds.

One of the few half-dissenters was Roberto Maroni, a Northern League minister, who argued that “if the commercialization of a pornographic product is legal in the eyes of the government, there is no sense in taxing it more.”

He, and some others on the right, also object to the notion of a government that came to power promising lower taxes inventing new ones instead.

The finance ministry started out against. It worried that, in its original form of a sales tax, the porn levy might run into trouble in Brussels. However, officials have got more enthusiastic about the porn tax as it has become clear how much it might yield.

The latest official estimate is 150 million euro ($180 million) a year. But a study by the Eurispes research institute calculates that the porn industry in Italy made profits of around 1.1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) in 2004.

If rigorously applied, the new tax could thus net as much as 275 million euro ($326 million) a year — without counting in the extra from a last-minute change to extend the tax to profits from violent, as well as raunchy, DVDs.

Two questions remain. One is whether Italy’s tax collectors might find themselves mired in a quagmire of conflicting definitions.

One person’s pornography (or violence) can be the next person’s art. Will DVDs of Bernardo Bertolucci’s explicit 2003 movie, “The Dreamers,” be taxed, for example?

The other question is whether letting the taxman into Italians’ bedrooms might cost Berlusconi votes in the election that is due in a few months’ time.

Neither question would have bothered the two 15th-century popes who set the pattern for Italy’s newest impost by taxing the profits from prostitution in Rome.

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