Washington Park, IL (KSDK) - Strip club owners in Illinois say a new proposed tax will put many of them out of business. Tuesday that tax passed a senate committee, and NewsChannel 5 learned the tax would be used to help sexual assault victims.
In the bi-state, you can find several strip clubs from Washington Park to Sauget. The bill in question would charge every person through the door, a $5 tax on top of the admission charge.
Wolf Abrams, General Manager of Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in Washington Park, says clubs like his are already paying a $2 tax to the state per customer. Abrams says a tax like this could cause some area clubs to shutdown.
Democratic State Senator Toi Hutchinson from Olympia Fields introduced this bill in February. The money collected if this bill were to become law, would provide grants to organizations that help sexual assault victims. The fund would also be used toward programs that help prevent sexual assault.
Senator Hutchinson says her bill would also address some of the violence toward women that she attributes to alcohol and nude dancing.
Wolf Abrams says a tax like this could cause some area clubs to shutdown.
Right now, on average, his customers pay about $10 to get through the door, and an additional tax could either cut into his profit, or require his customer to pay more, which is something he doesn't think his patrons will accept.
"It's unfair. It's biased. It's certainly prejudicial. There is a connection being implied between gentlemen's clubs and sexual assault and I have a problem with that," said Abrams.
Texas already has a similar tax, and it's estimated to bring in $44 million dollars a year.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to several area organizations that would benefit from this proposed tax, but our calls were not returned.