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It's not as good as getting a $5 off coupon, but prostitutes and their patrons in Nevada got a break last week when state lawmakers defeated a $5 tax on each customer served by a prostitute.

The tax would have raised an estimated $2 million a year in Nevada, which is dealing with a $3 billion budget crisis, high foreclosures, falling tourism dollars and a deep recession, according to a Reuters story.

Prostitution is legal in Nevada, but some lawmakers felt taxing it more would legitimize an industry they regard as distasteful and morally bankrupt. A Nevada state Senate committee voted 4-3 to kill the tax proposal.

About 20 legal brothels operate in rural Nevada, all outside Las Vegas and surrounding Clark County, where prostitution remains outlawed.

Brothels and their prostitutes are taxed by local governments and already pay an annual $100 licensing fee each to the state.

A lobbyist for the state's prostitution industry supported the proposed tax and called it a kind of "insurance policy" against future efforts by the state to end legalized brothels.

After all, once lawmakers get used to going to a prostitute for money, they won't want to stop.

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