Sex! Strippers! Taxes!

Via fark I’ve learned that the Texas Senate has voted to impose a $5 tax on entry to strip clubs and other “adult” establishments. The money will fund programs to help victims of sexual abuse.

Thanks to these establishments’ sleazy nature, it’s hard to feel sorry for their owners. And I’m not nearly libertarian enough to think that we should keep the state entirely out of efforts to help sexual abuse victims.

But I still don’t like the tax. I’ve spent a good part of my career studying crime and I don’t know of any evidence that strip clubs result in sexual abuse simply by virtue of their existence. Unless one can establish such a link, the tax becomes little more than an effort to hit up a politically unpopular group to help a politically popular group. If strip clubs really do cause sexual abuse, then the state should just look into ways of shutting them down altogether. If programs to help victims of abuse need more money, then the money should come from broad-based revenue sources. Bottom line: this tax stinks.