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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Pro tax

A hardy band of entrepreneurs given a helping hand by a caring government, or another group of downtrodden further oppressed by the man? You decide:

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) -- In an effort to bring prostitutes into the legal economy, officials said Monday that Hungary will allow sex workers to apply for an entrepreneur's permit -- a move that could generate government revenues from an industry worth an estimated $1 billion annually.

Human rights groups often have criticized European Union member Hungary for legalizing prostitution -- which has been fully allowed under certain conditions since 1999. Opponents say legalization does not help prostitutes.

The permits allow prostitutes to give receipts to customers and become part of the legal economy by paying taxes and making social security contributions, said Agnes Foldi, head of the Hungarian Prostitutes' Interest Protection Association.

Vice has become a major source of revenue for governments here. And with gambling, the government actively promotes the vice instead of just recognizing it and taxing the sin, as it does with alcohol and tobacco. How long can legislators resist all the revenue that could be generated by a tax on the world's oldest profession? Imagine how a legal bordello would invigorate downtown Fort Wayne.