Houston has passed a ‘pole tax’ which will see strip joints charged a $5 fee for each patron who visits.
The new $5 ‘sin tax’ will help to reduce Houston’s estimated backlog of 4,000 – 6,000 rape kits, which have remained untested because of limited resources. The city is expecting to generate $1 million – $3 million in revenue through the tax, which was promoted by City Council member Ellen Cohen. It was passed in a 14-1 vote on Wednesday. Cohen said:
“The majority of people are enthusiastic. We lose sight of the fact that those are people. Between four and six thousand people who have been sexually assaulted went through one of the worst things you can go through. The indignity of a rape kit is not 10 minutes behind a screen; it’s a long, laborious, embarrassing procedure.”
Supporters of the tax say it is appropriate because strip clubs are partially to blame for cultivating unhealthy attitudes toward women that can lead to sexual assaults. Hence, the clubs should pay towards testing the rape kits.
Which seems like a worthy idea with an admirable cause, but naturally, some people are unhappy – in this case, the jiggle joints themselves. Strip club owners say they will fight the tax through the courts, with Albert Van Huff, a Houston lawyer representing local strip venues, telling the Wall Street Journal:
“There is no known correlation between people going to nice, high-end gentlemen’s clubs and rape.”
The new fee is set to be implemented within the next two weeks, according to Cohen.
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