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Old 06-28-2012, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Houston
392 posts, read 811,963 times
Reputation: 511

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Houston Strip Clubs Hit by New 'Pole Tax' - WSJ.com

The city of Houston is turning to an unusual source to help fund rape investigations: strip clubs.

The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers.


Cash-strapped Houston is looking to an unusual source to finance rape investigations: strip clubs. The city council voted Wednesday to require strip clubs to pay $5 per visitor to help analyze biological evidence from rape victims. Nathan Koppel has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images.

Police in Houston, and in many other parts of the U.S., lack the money to promptly analyze evidence such as hair particles and blood specimens, gathered by investigators in packets known as rape kits. Houston estimates it has 6,000 rape kits that have yet to be scrutinized by crime laboratories.

Supporters of the ordinance, which was supported by Mayor Annise Parker and approved on a 14-1 vote, contend that strip clubs should shoulder some of the costs of rape investigations because the establishments can cultivate unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults.

"There are negative secondary effects associated with adult-entertainment establishments," said Ellen Cohen, the council member who championed the ordinance, which could generate up to $3 million in annual revenue.

The fee would also apply to clubs that stage occasional adult entertainment, such as "a wet T-shirt contest or naked sushi contest," according to the ordinance, which states all the revenue is to go toward processing rape kits.

There are an estimated 30 clubs subject to the tax, according to Ms. Cohen's chief of staff.

Critics strongly question attempts to tie strip clubs to violence against women, calling the fee unfair. "There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen's clubs and rape," said Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents local strip clubs.

A 2009 report by the University of Texas at Austin concluded that no study has "authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually oriented businesses, and the perpetration of violence."

The Texas legislature last year passed a law requiring police departments to report rape evidence backlogs to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has so far tallied 15,000 untested kits—a number expected to grow as more departments file their reports. Nationally, the backlog has reached about 400,000, according to a federal bill introduced in Congress last month that would provide greater funding for the testing of kits.

Of the 6,000 Houston kits, police don't believe they all would yield useful evidence. In some cases, for example, the victim has decided not to press charges.

In Texas, a state law passed in 2007 already imposes a $5-per-customer charge, dubbed the "pole tax," on strip clubs around the state. A portion of the fee, which has so far generated about $15.7 million in revenue, can be used to pay for testing rape kits.

The Texas Supreme Court last year rejected a claim that the state fee, sponsored by Ms. Cohen as a state lawmaker, violates free-speech rights by infringing on a mode of expression: sexually suggestive dancing.


Victoria Camp, Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said no one in her field believes that "if you walk into a strip club you become a rapist." Still, she said, "the environment that goes on at strip clubs fosters a culture that is more tolerant, at the very least, of sexual violence."

Houston clubs now face a double fee. "You are going to rip the economic rug out from underneath" the clubs, said Angelina Spencer, Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives, a strip-club trade group.

Council member Jack Christie said the strip clubs will survive. "When you look at videos of these clubs and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills in their remaining clothing, I don't think a $5 tax will hurt anybody," he said.


Lol had not heard about this one yet. Don't really like morality taxes but eh its only $5 and a ***** bar is not a place you go when you are trying to be frugal.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
312 posts, read 651,671 times
Reputation: 368
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComeAtMe View Post
Houston Strip Clubs Hit by New 'Pole Tax' - WSJ.com

The city of Houston is turning to an unusual source to help fund rape investigations: strip clubs.

The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers.


Cash-strapped Houston is looking to an unusual source to finance rape investigations: strip clubs. The city council voted Wednesday to require strip clubs to pay $5 per visitor to help analyze biological evidence from rape victims. Nathan Koppel has details on The News Hub. Photo: Getty Images.

Police in Houston, and in many other parts of the U.S., lack the money to promptly analyze evidence such as hair particles and blood specimens, gathered by investigators in packets known as rape kits. Houston estimates it has 6,000 rape kits that have yet to be scrutinized by crime laboratories.

Supporters of the ordinance, which was supported by Mayor Annise Parker and approved on a 14-1 vote, contend that strip clubs should shoulder some of the costs of rape investigations because the establishments can cultivate unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults.

"There are negative secondary effects associated with adult-entertainment establishments," said Ellen Cohen, the council member who championed the ordinance, which could generate up to $3 million in annual revenue.

The fee would also apply to clubs that stage occasional adult entertainment, such as "a wet T-shirt contest or naked sushi contest," according to the ordinance, which states all the revenue is to go toward processing rape kits.

There are an estimated 30 clubs subject to the tax, according to Ms. Cohen's chief of staff.

Critics strongly question attempts to tie strip clubs to violence against women, calling the fee unfair. "There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen's clubs and rape," said Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer who represents local strip clubs.

A 2009 report by the University of Texas at Austin concluded that no study has "authoritatively linked alcohol, sexually oriented businesses, and the perpetration of violence."

The Texas legislature last year passed a law requiring police departments to report rape evidence backlogs to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which has so far tallied 15,000 untested kits—a number expected to grow as more departments file their reports. Nationally, the backlog has reached about 400,000, according to a federal bill introduced in Congress last month that would provide greater funding for the testing of kits.

Of the 6,000 Houston kits, police don't believe they all would yield useful evidence. In some cases, for example, the victim has decided not to press charges.

In Texas, a state law passed in 2007 already imposes a $5-per-customer charge, dubbed the "pole tax," on strip clubs around the state. A portion of the fee, which has so far generated about $15.7 million in revenue, can be used to pay for testing rape kits.

The Texas Supreme Court last year rejected a claim that the state fee, sponsored by Ms. Cohen as a state lawmaker, violates free-speech rights by infringing on a mode of expression: sexually suggestive dancing.


Victoria Camp, Deputy Director of the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, said no one in her field believes that "if you walk into a strip club you become a rapist." Still, she said, "the environment that goes on at strip clubs fosters a culture that is more tolerant, at the very least, of sexual violence."

Houston clubs now face a double fee. "You are going to rip the economic rug out from underneath" the clubs, said Angelina Spencer, Executive Director of the Association of Club Executives, a strip-club trade group.

Council member Jack Christie said the strip clubs will survive. "When you look at videos of these clubs and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills in their remaining clothing, I don't think a $5 tax will hurt anybody," he said.


Lol had not heard about this one yet. Don't really like morality taxes but eh its only $5 and a ***** bar is not a place you go when you are trying to be frugal.
I haven't been to one of these type of places in 20 years, but $5 is a little much on top of the existing statewide tax. I could see maybe an extra $1, but an extra $5 might deter some club goers.

Does Las Vegas, NYC, Orlando, Miami, etc., have similar taxes in place?

I think the "gentleman's club" industry may put up a legal challenge.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:22 PM
 
1,309 posts, read 2,887,443 times
Reputation: 941
A nickel a bag on potato chips would raise a lot of money. A nickel a can or bottle of soda would merely mirror the deposit programs in place in many states. Maybe they could use the money raised on repairing roads, citing the impact of heavy people on road conditions as a rationale.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:23 PM
 
Location: League City
3,266 posts, read 6,278,171 times
Reputation: 3752
If you are going to one of these places, and $5 is a major setback for your wallet, then you shouldn't be going in the first place. Unless they still have 'showtime' at Heartbreakers
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,015,549 times
Reputation: 16166
Should we charge an obesity or diabetes tax of a dollar at fast food places?

Pretty sorry the city decided strippers=rape precursors
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:30 PM
 
14,806 posts, read 18,801,729 times
Reputation: 11772
I bet they don't have the balls to pass that same thing on alcohol drinks
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Houston
392 posts, read 811,963 times
Reputation: 511
Wow did not even catch that it would be enforced for wet t shirt contests and the like also.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:41 PM
 
2,140 posts, read 3,124,243 times
Reputation: 1760
Sin taxes, the easiest taxes to pass. Who could object? They could impose a $100 pole tax and barely register a complaint. Strip clubs are overpriced as it is. The internet remains free for those without charm. But I guess if you're really into the tactile experience (minus any pay-off) then your choices are limited.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Pearland, TX
3,333 posts, read 7,791,411 times
Reputation: 2309
Just how many Polish people actually GO to tittie bars?

Ronnie
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Hell's Kitchen, NYC
2,271 posts, read 4,409,830 times
Reputation: 1584
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oildog View Post
Should we charge an obesity or diabetes tax of a dollar at fast food places?

Pretty sorry the city decided strippers=rape precursors
BBC News - Denmark introduces world's first food fat tax

Looks like Denmark already did...
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