State Senate Recalls Pole Tax Replacement

Texas senators temporarily reverse their vote so House version doesn't replace measure

In a highly unusual parliamentary maneuver, the Texas Senate temporarily reversed its vote in favor of a controversial new tax on sexually oriented businesses.

Senators voted Tuesday to repeal a $5-per-person admission fee on strip clubs that has been ruled unconstitutional and agreed to replace the 2007 measure with a new voluntary tax on adult sites that charge admission.

The bill was headed to the governor when the Senate recalled it.

Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, said he pulled it back for a few days so a competing House version doesn't supersede it. The last bill passed is the one that takes effect, he said.

Money collected under the current "pole tax" was sent to a fund to aid sex assault victims and a pool for uninsured Texans.

The House's competing bill, which is favored by sexual assault victim advocates, would reduce the current tax to $3 and dedicate all the money to the sexual assault fund.

The new tax in the Senate measure would apply to various adult sites -- theaters, video stores, bookstores and other sexually oriented businesses that charge admission fees. It would total 10 percent of gross admissions receipts.

The Texas Entertainment Association sued over the so-called "pole tax" admission fee and supports the new 10 percent tax.

But critics say the Senate bill is a ruse by strip club owners to avoid additional taxes.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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