State Turns To ‘skin Tax’ For Crisis Centers
State Turns To ‘skin Tax’ For Crisis Centers, The adult entertainment fee will generate $1 million and make up a funding shortfall, supporters say. Illinois Governor Approves Strip Club ‘Skin Tax’ to Fund Rape Crisis Centers, So-called “sin taxes” exist for smoking, gambling and alcohol, and now Illinois has passed a “skin tax” for strip clubs, which backers say will raise up to $1 million a year to fund rape crisis centers in the state.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law creating the Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Fund, sponsored by Democratic State Senators Toi Hutchinson and Sara Feigenholtz. The state senate passed the bill by unanimous vote in May; a similar bill has already passed in Texas.
Created in response to declining state funding for rape crisis centers, the new law allows the Illinois Department of Human Services to administer the fund to centers, which will be supported through the Live Adult Entertainment Facility Surcharge. Strip club operators will pay a charge on gross receipts on a tiered basis, or a $3 surcharge for each patron. The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2013.
“I think in the end, everyone negotiated in good faith,” Hutcinson said about the rape crisis center advocates and club owners. “The one thing we all agreed on was these services needed funding. As long as that was the overriding goal, we could concentrate where the money was going.”
Hutchinson had initially proposed a $5 tax for the entry of each customer admitted into a live adult entertainment facility. She said the $3 surcharge and tiered structure, which is dependent on a club’s size and revenues, was a compromise proposed by club owners.
The Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an advocacy group, first approached Hutchinson with the idea to sponsor the bill. Polly Poskin, executive director of the coalition, said her group’s funding has dropped by $1.2 million the past three budget years. She applauded the governor for signing the bill.