3 votes

Houston Government Raising Money With Sin Tax

The article below is titled, "Houston's Strip Clubs Hit by New 'Pole Tax'". The article says that the law "requires strip clubs to pay a $5-per-visitor fee to help pay for the analysis of biological evidence collected from rape victims in hopes of identifying their attackers."

In other words, local government needed money and they used the negative sentiment that some have toward strip clubs into taxing a business to help pay for a vote-buying program. Plus I'm sure the local government official is trying to position themselves as "a champion of all that is good" for "taxing sin and putting it toward programs good for the community".

I don't know if there's a link between the existence of strip clubs vs the number of rapes that occur in that town but shouldn't the government at least have to prove causation *before* being allowed to tax these businesses? And I'm not sure that I like a tax as the solution even if there is causation.

Think of how frightening this is. Next they'll tax McDonalds for serving food that contributes to obesity and heart attacks. That tax money can go toward subsidizing gym memberships. Eventually maybe it'll be any restaurant that serves a meal deemed unhealthy by the government ("oh you have a dessert menu? That's not healthy! Let's get the IRS in here").

The other really frightening thing to me is at the end of the article it says:

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Council member Jack Christie said the strip clubs will survive. "When you look at videos of these clubs and see women putting $5, $10 and $20 dollar bills in their remaining clothing, I don't think a $5 tax will hurt anybody," he said.
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It feels like they're defending their tax by saying "it's okay - they make a lot of money anyway". Reminds me of that scene in Godfather II where the local mafioso (Don Fanucci) was trying to extort a few bucks out of Robert DeNiro ("just let me wet my beak").

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230483070457749...