Because the city of Houston, Texas doesn't have the funds readily at hand to foot the bill for rape investigations, they've come up with a new, somewhat controversial way to drum up the cash: Levying a "sin tax" -- being referred to as a "pole tax" on strip clubs (as well as any other establishment that offers adult entertainment, like bars that do wet t-shirt contests). It's only $5 per customer, but since all Texans already have to pay a $5 state-levied pole tax, nude lady-oglers of Houston will have to cough up double now. (As if lap dances weren't pricey enough -- hrrmph!)
But covers at some high-end nightclubs could cost you as much as $20 just to enter, so what's all the brouhaha about? The only thing I find a little off-putting is the case supporters of the fee made in order to get the tax passed ...
They claimed that strip clubs contribute to sexual assaults by fostering an unhealthy attitude about women that could ultimately lead to sexual assaults.
Studies haven't shown that to be the case, and even in my limited personal research -- two memoirs written by former strippers Lily Burana (Strip City) and Diablo Cody (Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper) -- I never got the impression that strip clubs are obvious promoters of violence against women. And they're certainly not the only institution in this great nation of ours that objectifies and sexualizes women. (Just take a look at men's magazines, beer commercials, some rap music, etc.) So to make it as if they're the folks who should obviously be writing this check just strikes me as bizarre and reaching.
Nonetheless, if they can't come up with the money, I guess this way is as good as any. If levying this pole tax means Houston could raise as much as $3 million to go toward more quickly analyzing evidence collected in rape kits (an estimated 6,000 rape kits currently sit untested) and defending and protecting sexually assaulted women, I'm all for it. Ultimately, bolstering rape investigations is more important than saving strip club goers a measly $5.
Check out this video for more on the tax ...
Do you think strip club-goers should have to pay a pole tax to fund the city's rape kits?