New State Tax On Strip Clubs - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/2/08

New State Tax On Strip Clubs

A new state tax is requiring strip clubs across the state to collect a $5-per-customer fee,which   could help South Plains rape victims.

It's been dubbed by some as the "pole tax", which means places like the Boom Boom Cabaret will have to pay a fee of $5 per customer admitted to the business to the state.  Fees which are expected to raise more than $40 million for rape victims across Texas and on the South Plains.

The number of calls for assistance is growing at the Lubbock Rape Crisis Center.

"We see an 11% increase in our cases every year and so 376 cases in 2006 the number is only getting bigger," Community Educator Linsey McCutchin said.

The center provides services rape victims in the Lubbock and 11 other counties. To help combat the increasing number of rape victims, McCutchin says the strip club tax will be used for prevention efforts and victim services.

"It will provide more educational tools, more community evolvement and anytime we can serve out victims in a more positives and efficient way it's beneficial."

The new law comes out of the 80th Texas Legislature, which has split support from area lawmakers.

"It was a revenue producer to help with the rape trauma situation and of course the strip clubs and places like that probably contribute more to that than anybody, State Representative Delwin Jones said.

Representative Jones voted in favor of the strip club tax. While Representative Carl Isett voted against it. He says the program should have been funded through the state's surplus funds.

"This was an important program and we would have supported creating this program. They chose to use a funding source that now makes us hope that the industry does well. And I just think we can do better than that," Representative Isett explained.

Under this new law, the Comptroller of Public Accounts is in charge of enforcing the $5 fee. However, at this time it is not clear when those funds will make to South Plaines rape victims. A group of strip club owners has filed a lawsuit against the state, contesting the constitutionality of this new law.

He is not involved with the suit however; NewsChannel 11 spoke with a manager at the Boom Boom Cabaret. He says they have no plans to raise entry fees at the club. Instead they will absorb the cost themselves.

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