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State Senate passes $3 strip club tax

Updated: July 3, 2012 10:03AM

Amid discussions of big-ticket financial measures, lawmakers in the state Senate voted Thursday to put skin in the game by passing a $3 per customer tax on strip clubs in Illinois.

The measure passed 53-0 in the Senate and now goes back to the House before possibly being sent to Gov. Pat Quinn. It would require strip clubs that serve alcohol or permit consumption of alcohol to pay the equivalent of $3 per customer or between $5,000 and $25,000 to a state sexual-assault services fund annually, depending on the club’s receipts, beginning in 2014.

Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, said she didn’t want to insinuate that strip club patrons are necessarily sexually violent.

“I don’t think it’s fair to do that,” Hutchinson said. But “when you have alcohol and a trigger with nude dancing, you are more likely then introducing an element that reduces inhibitions and increases aggressive behavior.”

Hutchinson said she was willing to withstand what Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) called “uncomfortable jokes and snickers” about the legislation to mitigate sexual violence in Illinois.

“I wish . . . I could find a solution to fix it,” she said. “All I know is that this is a step in the right direction.”

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