Strip Club Owners Sue City of Houston Over 'Pole Tax'
by: Laurie Johnson, October 12, 2012 4:10:00 pm
Back in June, Houston City Council enacted a $5 per customer fee on strip clubs.
Councilmember Ellen Cohen advocated for the fee after passing similar legislation when she was a state representative.
The statewide fee applies to businesses that provide nude dancing. It does not apply in Houston, where only semi-nude entertainment is permitted.
"We have thousands of untested sexual assault kits and the fee was designed to generate the income to help test those kits."
Cohen says there is statistical research that shows a connection between nude dancing and alcohol at sexually oriented businesses and increased violence toward women.
But attorneys for the strip clubs say the fee is unconstitutional and unfairly targets strip clubs, versus regular bars and other
establishments that also attract crime.
Strip clubs were supposed to start paying the fee on October 20th, but those payments may now be delayed as the matter is taken up by a state district court.