In signing the new “skin tax” bill, Quinn officially created the Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Fund. Beginning January 1, 2013, every patron to a strip club must pay a $3 surcharge, which will then be transferred to the fund. The money will be handled by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
The bill was introduced in February by Democratic senators Toi Hutchinson and Sara Feigenholtz due to reported dwindling funding for rape crisis centers in the state. The bill passed through both house and senate, with the senate vote being unanimous.
“The one thing we all agreed on was these services needed funding,” Hutchinson stated. “As long as that was the overriding goal, we could concentrate where the money was going.”
Strip club owners state that they are unhappy with the tax and find no correlation between rape and adult businesses.
Michael Ocello, the president of the Illinois Club Owners Association, who oversees approximately 500 employees at five strip clubs in the state, says that there is no evidence “that going to an adult club causes people to go out and commit rape, commit crimes.”
He advised that a number of clubs may be forced to close because of the tax.
Lawmakers estimate that the new tax will raise $1 million a year for rape crisis centers, some of which may offer referrals to abortion facilities and other locations that provide emergency contraception.
Chicago, the largest city in Illinois, has especially been known for its “exotic dancers” and other sexually-oriented businesses.
At least one other state has a similar law in effect. In 2007, Governor Rick Perry approved a $5 pole tax for all strip clubs that serve alcohol to its patrons. Millions of dollars have been garnered in the five years that have transpired, signifying that strip clubs are big business in the state.
“Strip clubs are vehicles of human sex trafficking, exploitation of women, prostitution, drugs, gangs, organized criminals, money laundering, extortion, rape and murder,” said Jack Hakimian of Impact Miami. “Our communities need strong and wise clergy, business persons, politicians and citizens who seek to stop the devaluing forces and support long term sustainable change and not just quick fixes to our economic struggles by seeking to collect more strip club tax revenues.”