Friday, March 28, 2008

Texas Titty Tax Struck Down

State district judge Scott Jenkins ruled today that the Texas Legislature's oft-mocked $5 strip club fee is unconstitutional and may not be collected.

The $5 per (ahem) head fee went into effect Jan. 1 and was immediately the subject of a lawsuit by the Texas Entertainment Association (yes, even the titty bars have lobbyists) and the owners of an Amarillo gentlemen's establishment. It is not clear if the fee will immediately stop being collected because the state could still appeal the ruling.

The deflating experience of going to a bar to pay money to see half-naked women pretend to like you is punishment in and of itself, so a government-imposed surcharge on top of the overpriced drinks and $20 table dances seems like overkill to me. Also, who gets to decide what is "adult entertainment" versus "performance art." I'm none too comfortable with the idea of one of my state worker brethren making such a call.

While the sexual assault prevention and low-income health insurance programs this fee is supposed to pay for are certainly needed, I'm wary of our increasing tendency to rely on "stupidity taxes" to pay for social services against a backdrop of constant tax cuts that primarily benefit the wealthiest among us.

4 comments:

greggae said...

Hopefully no "T"-taxes in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Greggae

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Damn, Greg, do you also worry that your waitress and bartender are only nice to you for tips?

I figured that since domestic violence surges on the days of major sporting events that they could just tack that $5 onto Cowboys, Rangers, and Astros tickets.

Greg said...

I'm probably being to sensitive about the nice-for-tips thing, but it's been that way ever since a dancer at the Crazy Lady falsely accused me of flatuating.

As for a sports ticket surcharge, I'm all for it since anyone who rents a car or stays in a hotel in many major cities is already paying for stadiums they'll probably never use.