Texas Hits Strip Clubs With 'Pole Tax'

Smaller clubs sue over feared loss of clientele
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 4:32 PM CST
A neon sign advertises the entrance to the Playpen strip club in New York City in this March 6, 1998, file photo. (AP Photo/Michael Schmelling, File)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Texas strip clubs are suing over a new law that will force them to collect a $5-per-person tax on clientele, the AP reports. Most of the estimated $40 million in proceeds will help rape victims, which club owners claim to support, but smaller venues fear a loss of customers. A Houston lawmaker who backed the bill disagrees: "I don't think another $5 is going to prevent someone from going," she said.

The state's clubs range from old dives to fancy venues, and are known for giving women a way to pay for college or other pursuits; Anna Nicole Smith made her start in one. But a 28-year-old dancer who stripped her way through school worries that the new law will hinder dancers' dreams. She said she earned $200 a day at one club, and "on good days, a hell of a lot more."