Monday, November 23, 2009

Utah Taxes Strip Clubs... While Ours Sell More Vices & Hit the Streets!

I'm telling you, we have something special here in Nevada. What other state in the union has such important debates on significant issues like whether or not "Stripper-mobiles" can offer "live entertainment" on the road!

Well, Utah won't be joining the party any time soon. In fact, their (state) Supreme Court just upheld a recently levied tax on all nude strip clubs.

In 2004, the Utah Legislature became one of the first in the country to enact a 10 percent tax on sexually explicit businesses in an effort to pay for sex offender treatment. The tax covered everything a sexually explicitly business sold -- admission, T-shirts and hamburgers included.

A group of escort agencies and strip clubs challenged the constitutionality of the law, saying it was overbroad and violated their First Amendment rights. Meanwhile, a host of other states held off on passing their own sexually explicit business taxes while the case made its way through Utah's court system.

The Utah Supreme Court ruled that the Sexually Explicit Business and Escort Services tax is not a violation of First Amendment rights but that it is unreasonably vague when it comes to escort services.

"The Tax fails to provide adequate information for a person of ordinary intelligence to distinguish between those types of compensated companionship that the Legislature intended would trigger application of the Tax and those that it intended would not," the court wrote.

I'm a little torn on this one. I guess it's laudable that Utah found such a "creative" way to pay for sex offender rehab. Nonetheless, this also smacks of yet another "sin tax" that Utah's "Mormon moral majority" throws on every "sinful" business (alcohol, tobacco, sex, etc.) that they don't like. And in this case, they may be unfairly targeting the strip clubs just because of the content.

And if the clubs prove that it's all about the content, they may have a chance of overturning the "Utah stripper tax" in the US Supreme Court.

Andrew McCullough, an attorney who represented the coalition of adult businesses, said if he can get his clients to agree, he will try to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The implication is that the Supreme Court said that they're not taxing dancing, they're taxing nudity. Frankly, that's just preposterous. They are taxing artistic expression and it's just wrong," he said.

McCullough acknowledged that getting the U.S. Supreme Court to hear any case is difficult, but he believes this one has merit.

"I think honestly, this one is going to be accepted because it's a very important, very unique and very new question and because there are in fact at least 12 other states out there who are going to be doing this soon based on the tenor of the decision here in Utah," he said.

Well, at least Nevada isn't one of those 12 states. Nope, instead our strip clubs are looking for liquor licenses so they can make more money off our vices! In fact, rumor has it that Deja Vu & Little Darlings voluntarily agreed to take the now famous "Stripper-mobile" off Las Vegas Blvd. in order to curry favor with the Clark County Commission so that Deja Vu can get a liquor license (even if it means Deja Vu can't be "totally nude" any more).

Still, there's a good chance someone else will revive the "Stripper-mobile" and put it back on Las Vegas Blvd. where it belongs [IMHO ;-) ]. Rumor has it another strip club may want to cash in on all the "earned media" from the "rolling bachelor party on wheels" that doubled business at Deja Vu and Little Darlings.

So there you have it. Utah wants to tax the sin out of their state... While we keep reveling in all the naughty goodness of the "Stripper-mobile" controversy. I just don't know how those Utahns can cope with all that clean living. :-p


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