The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the $5 “pole tax” imposed by Texas on patrons of strip clubs is constitutional. The ruling comes after a nearly 4-year fight between strip-club owners and the state. From Forbes:
The tax had been ushered in at the end of 2007 as part of the Sexually Oriented Business Fee Act and was targeted to clubs which served alcohol and allowed for nude dancing. The proceeds were intended to benefit victims of sexual assault and those who were uninsured in Texas, quite a combination. The tax met immediate resistance from the Texas Entertainment Association (“TEA”) which filed suit.
Initially, the TEA was victorious. In Texas Entertainment Association Inc. v. Combs, Judge Scott Jenkins ruled that the tax violated the First Amendment and did not effectively advance a compelling government interest.
The Texas Supreme Court, though, ruled last week that the $5 fee is too small to be a limitation on free speech.