Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon wants to tax strip clubs to help fund sexual assault centers. Simon says the $5 tax per customer would offset the sexual assaults related to strip clubs. The tax would only apply to clubs that sell alcohol.
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“I’ve watched that budget go away and wished I could find a way to help restore that,” Simon says. “I have looked for that connection between sexual assault and industries that have profited from that association.” Centreville police chief Steve Brown says his town heavily relies on the revenue of its three strip clubs and the tax would force him to make layoffs. He also says strip clubs are easier to manage than regular bars because the clubs have more security guards. “They’re more regulated,” Brown says. “They have a lot of guys throughout the floors as well as the doors. And they have a tight-knit commitment with the police department. Any guy gets out of hand we handle it. We take care of it.”
The bill passed a committee unanimously but members said the bill still needs a lot of work and they want more evidence of a correlation between strip clubs selling alcohol and sexual violence. State Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), the bill’s sponsor, says she may lower the cost of the tax to help get the measure passed.