Strip Clubs to Challenge the 2015 Pole Tax?

Governor Deal signed both SR 7 and SB 8, the Republican war on strip clubs/the pole tax, into law on Tuesday setting a painfully dangerous precedent of taxing an entire industry simply out of a lack of affinity for it. The bill, which will add a $5,000 or 1% fee/tax/assessment on adult entertainment establishments, seeks to fund a victims of sex trafficking compensation and rehabilitation fund, despite the lack of connection between these establishments and trafficking. Voters will decide if that money will go into a newly created fund via constitutional amendment in November 2016.

But attorney Alab Begner told WABE that the law “will be challenged.” He said he is unsure how many clubs will sign onto a suit but noted that nude dancing is free speech and you cannot tax free speech. Begner has represented 2/3 of the nude dancing clubs in free speech cases over the years.

Senator Renee Unterman, the bill’s sponsor, told WABE, they deserve to be taxed and “anytime you have a community that starts going downhill, it’s typically in these areas, and those establishments never do anything to help clean up the neighborhoods.” Whatever that means.

From the well of the House on the day of the vote, Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver said something to the effect of looking forward to strip clubs attempting to challenge this in court because she believes they will lose. Now, the state Attorney General’s office is saying they are prepared to defend the law.

It looks like that judgment day may not be too far away.

6 comments

  1. frankf says:

    Why am I not surprised? Geez, Why more and more government, taxes, and interference with businesses? Because they can, and the ones in there now feel the need. “deserve to be taxed”, really?

  2. bsjy says:

    It seems with laws like this we creep closer and closer to bills of attainder. Politicians hide behind pious proclamations about fighting some tragedy or another, but what they all want is money to spend. On the right, they use human trafficking; on the left they use lung cancer. Either way, they are after the cash flows from businesses.

    On the free speech issue, the fellow may be correct that nude dancing is free speech, but they don’t dance for free. They get paid by club owner who considers the dancers a cost of goods sold for his business.

    Perhaps the lawyer is just responding to one disingenuous argument with one of his own. Money — and ultimately only money — is at the root of this.

  3. therightdirection says:

    “The bill, which will add a $5,000 or 1% fee/tax/assessment on adult entertainment establishments, seeks to fund a victims of sex trafficking compensation and rehabilitation fund, despite the lack of connection between these establishments and trafficking.”

    There’s no connection? I can’t remember where I read/heard it, but I remember hearing that actual workers of these places had said they had been trafficked. I’m no expert on trafficking or adult clubs, but it isn’t that hard to believe that there is a connection–the strength of that connection is up for debate. I have no problem with a fund to fight trafficking and help its victims, and would rather it happen this way than taking money from the general fund.

  4. Corvid says:

    “It does not have to be true to be included in the findings and made into a new law”

    so sayeth the Legislators

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