Want to help Houston foot the bill for its rape investigations? Visit a strip club. The city doesn't have the funds to quickly analyze evidence collected in rape kits, so the City Council passed an ordinance yesterday imposing a $5-per-visitor "pole tax" on strip joints and other clubs that host adult entertainment (think wet T-shirt contests). The money collected will go toward processing Houston's rape kits; an estimated 6,000 sit untested, the Wall Street Journal reports. With 30 clubs subject to the tax, as much as $3 million could be raised annually.
Supporters of the fee, which passed 14-1, say that strip clubs contribute to sexual assaults by fostering an unhealthy attitude about women that could ultimately lead to sexual assaults; opponents point out the lack of studies proving that. Texas already levies a $5-per-customer "pole tax" on strip clubs, meaning Houston clubs will have double the fee. But, says a City Council member, "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."