SPRINGFIELD --- Strip clubs that sell booze or let people drink alcoholic beverages would face a new tax under a measure the Illinois House sent to the governor today.
Lawmakers approved the strip club tax 92-23, with three voting present. The money would go to support rape crisis centers, which have seen funds drop about 28 percent over the past five years.
A strip club operator would have two options under the measure. The operator could charge a $3 admission fee or pay taxes based on how much money they take in.
An operator making $2 million or more per year would pay a $25,000 tax. Those making $500,000 to $2 million would pay $15,000 annually. Operators making less than $500,000 a year would have a $5,000 tax.
Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, asked why the industry is being singled out and questioned whether the government should be "picking losers and winners" when it decides who to tax. He then voted "present."
Sponsoring Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, a Chicago Democrat, countered funding for rape crisis counseling centers has been cut significantly in recent Illinois budgets. In addition, violent crime is higher in areas near clubs that serve alcohol, Feigenholtz said.
"I feel as though we have found a creative way to help these victims," she said.
Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, a Democrat, hailed the negotiations with the club industry that brought about the legislation and the support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.
"This is an example of how the process should work. All parties worked together for the good of our state," Simon said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun