California Senate bill (SB-782) is a proposal introduced by the presumed next Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) which would impose a special $ 10.00 Strip Club entry tax (fee) for patrons who visit what are known as “Gentlemen’s Clubs,” “Girlee Bars”, or “Strip Joints,” etc.
Virtually every adult male has frequented one of these places in their lifetimes as they are a popular venue for bachelor parties and birthday celebrations. It is well documented (especially on film) young women disrobe while dancing around poles enticing guys to stuff currency inside whatever garments are still left on. For big spenders private lap dances can be provided with additional services often available upon request.
Strip clubs made most famous with the “Bada Bing “where Tony Soprano and his gang of thugs congregated, are nothing new to society. They have been around in some form for hundreds of years and seem to fill a need for some guys. While nude dancing venues provides employment, entertainment, and a place for men to rid themselves of sexual anxiety, they are a nuisance that most of us would prefer to remain in the shadows.
But why would the State bother with passing a strip club entry tax to nude dancing establishments when they appear to be effectively regulated on a local basis? Is there a failure of municipal governments to handle these places that requires Sacramento to step in? Why would DeSaulnier even be remotely interested in strip clubs when to the best of my knowledge, these establishments don’t even exist in his district?
Strip Club Entry Tax fantasy
In analyzing SB-782 we should ask what would be the effect if the legislature passes the measure? As such it would appear:
- The additional ten dollar (sin tax) cover charge imposed on patrons of strip clubs would likely put many of them out of business. Were this the case there would be a reduction of jobs for workers plus loss of revenues generated from liquor and sales taxes.
- To fill the needs of some individuals who frequent these places, they would undoubtedly be attracted to illegal prostitution and unlicensed businesses of this type. Were this the case, what would be the costs for the courts and law enforcement be?
- It is likely Administrative expenses attached with collecting money under SB-782 would not allow for many dollars being left assisting rape victims.
- Would closing down strip clubs actually be a major factor in reducing violence against women?
For me, it is difficult to answer any of these questions as strip clubs are not exactly places that I have frequented much in the past, nor found especially entertaining. Quite the contrary, it is my recollection from attending a business meeting at the Cheetah Club in Atlanta several years ago, I felt like a social worker observing his clients. This place was definitely not a turn-on nor did I “inhale” there.
The big question for me is what good can come from the State of California imposing what amounts to a sin tax with the passage of SB-782? From a cost/analysis standpoint this type of revenue enhancement hasn’t always translated into additional cash for the state treasury. If strip clubs are closed, they will probably move such establishments to Nevada much like what has historically occurred in the past with gambling?
Not to be forgotten with analyzing SB-782 is whether rape victims and abused women will be better off with the proceeds of the $ 10.00 fee. Were $10 million dollars of tax money to be collected, 1 million separate visits to Gentlemen’s Clubs would be required. Could the net proceeds after expenses do much to curb violence against women?
The answer is probably “no”. This proposal is another case of government overreach in trying to protect citizens against themselves. When all the costs are tabulated, SB-782 should be considered little more than a bad case of “symbolic eroticism”. It would likely mean good intentions of the State Legislature leading to unintended consequences in passing a useless piece of legislation.
Unfortunately, a strip club entry tax is not the only item on the list of unnecessary measures the current legislature is trying to pass to tamp down adult entertainment. Among other items under Senator De Saulnier’s wish list are:
SB-486 Start an Office of Legal Compliance and Ethics within the Transportation Department to conduct audits and investigations of themselves. This is being done mostly to figure out why rebuilding one half of the San Francisco Bay Bridge cost over $6.3 billion dollars? Do we need a special study group to know that labor racketeering, Caltrans bureaucracy, over regulation, design changes, and other cost overruns lead to spending too much of the tax payer’s money on this project?
SB 293 Requires all newly manufactured or imported hand guns in California be “owner authorized” or be personalized in a way that would allow them to be fired only be authorized persons. This sounds great, but such rules would only pass costs for this on to gun owners. There is no indication drive by shootings or criminal activities would be influenced by passing laws that only law abiding citizens would obey.
SB-652 Makes a homeowner, in plain language t explain the specific alleged construction defect and record on property deeds and whether the defect was repaired. Were this law passed a whole new layer of government bureaucracy would be created in what are currently covered by “disclosure requirements” in real estate transactions. This would undoubtedly bring on a new cottage industry certifying costly reports and legal challenges that inevitably would follow “Let’s make sure California real estate costs can become even more unaffordable,” this bill is saying.
SB-466 establishes the California Institute for Criminal Justice Policy to study cost analysis of any criminal justice legislation. Just what we need, another government agency to study what another government agency does. This is more useless oversight which contributes to California’s State government being one of the least cost effective in the 50 states.
The list goes on as Sacramento continues to immerse themselves in areas where they do not belong. If only legislators would concern themselves creating laws that really matter as opposed to collecting a strip club entry tax.
Which brings us to the original subject of SB-782 Why would anyone except for the “Get a life” crowd be even remotely interested in this nonsense? A strip club entry tax? Really? Perhaps Senator De Saulnier and some of his cohorts in the legislature think they can gain support from fundamentalist religious groups or Women’s Rights advocates who distain what goes on in girlee bars. Who knows? Hopefully, they will work on solving more mundane problems such as high taxes, job creation, and pension reform in 2014.