“Strip club patrons will have to pay an extra $5 at the door, under a bill that passed the House on Wednesday,” reports The Houston Chronicle here. The Texas bill targets sexually oriented businesses (SOBs). It’s sponsored by freshman Democrat Ellen Cohen (who serves as president of the Houston Area Women’s Center), and reportedly “would provide $18 million for sexual-assault programs.” Another house Democrat, Harold Dutton, asked Cohen, “Have you been to any of these sexually oriented businesses?” Cohen’s response: “No, have you?”
Just because SOBs are an easy target doesn’t make this bill right. There’s probably not a lick of empirical evidence to support the need for the ‘sin tax,’ which could present problems because the federal Constitution requires at least some evidence. A more practical question is how, exactly, the State of Texas intends to ensure compliance of the proposed cover-charge tax.
Perhaps tax auditors will work the doors on occasion?