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1) Legalize all the vices. Quarantine brought us some relief on alcohol takeout in order to give local restaurants something else to sell—but that doesn’t nearly go far enough. Not every attempt to fill the city’s budget needs to come from increasing the taxes on things we already tax. The easiest new source of revenue for the city would be areas where there’s already lots of illegal economic activity that doesn’t get taxed at all, but where legalization would actually bring regulation and improvements—namely, vices.
Marijuana is an easy one. It’s already being mass-consumed tax-free. It’s been decriminalized in several ways. Now it’s time to run this thing into the end zone—and while we’re at it, throw away all of the previous convictions and records that go with it. That would save us money on incarceration on top of a windfall tax on sales.
Sports gambling is another easy one. New Jersey already allows it. Let’s stop PATH train riders hopping over to Jersey City to place their bets and let them keep their money and their taxes on our side of the river.
Sex work is one that fewer people might support—but over and above the tax potential, there’s a moral argument to be made here as well. Regardless of your opinion of it, sex work is a source of income for many people in NYC, especially immigrant populations. By keeping it illegal, it prevents those in the industry from coming forward when they (Read more...)