New strip club tax proposal aimed to help reduce rape kit backlog

June 20, 2012 10:56:32 AM PDT
It is budget day at City Hall. Today is when council members begin hammering out the Houston city budget.

It doesn't appear that the city is facing a repeat of the shortfall and layoffs from last year, but there are some amendments that may stir up some controversy.

Having no layoffs on the table is certainly better news this year over last. As for the most controversial topic, the pole tax was separated from the rest of the city council budget because it is such a big issue.

Council Member Ellen Cohen is proposing a fee of about $5 for every patron who walks through the door of a Houston strip club. The money would then be used to pay for testing of the thousands of backlogged rape kits.

Council Member Cohen passed a similar bill when she served in the state legislature, and now she wants the city to do the same, and she is imploring her colleagues to do their jobs.

"While I can't promise when the first dollar would come in, and I can't promise that there won't be litigation, I can promise you that if we do nothing, nothing will get done," Cohen said.

The proposal seemed to have broad support throughout the council, but they did delay the vote for a week amid such questions as how will it will be determined the number of patrons who visit a strip club and how the tax will be enforced.


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