Friday, February 17, 2012

Another one of those taxes we’d like to think we won’t be collecting much of

State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, has assured herself she will get loads of attention this spring.
Red Eye gave it the cover, while ...

For the south suburban native has come up with a bill that satisfies our sense of moralistic outrage, combined with pure titillation. She wants a new tax that would be charged any time anyone visits a strip club/girlie joint/titty bar/whatever goofy name you call it.

IT GOT HUTCHINSON in the Chicago Tribune, and is being picked up by the wire services that will ensure that anyone paying attention to newscasts across Illinois will know all about this.

A $5 fee, in addition to whatever cover charge the alleged “gentlemen’s clubs” are already charging – just to walk into the door. That goes along with whatever drink minimums they charge – and the money that one winds up giving to the ladies themselves for putting on the sexually-charged shows that they do.

Hutchinson says she would want the money from the $5 fee to go toward a special fund that would pay for counseling for women who get raped. Which is a noble goal, although it strikes me as being similar to the logic always tossed up when the fees on a package of cigarettes are increased.

Making it cost more to smoke tobacco products might actually reduce the number of people who smoke, which might improve their health.
... the Tribune gave it the corner

DOES IT REALLY fall into line that making it cost more to look at nude women (although every such club I have ever been in was required to have their girls keep their pubic areas covered) would make guys less likely to go to such clubs – which would make them less likely to get all aroused and feel the need to take their lustful urges out on the “real” women they encounter outside of the clubs.

I don’t know if I buy it.

But heck, if it helps raise a few bucks for a noble effort, then perhaps it will be worthwhile.

Although I will be anxious to see how this particular bill plays out.

WILL THE CONSERVATIVE ideologues get all worked up over the thought of local businesses being hit with another “tax” that might make some of their customers have to reduce the number of trips they make to their local “establishment” to catch a glimpse of nipple?

For the real hard-core ideologue types, particularly those who like to think of themselves as Tea Party-types, that is NOT any kind of ridiculous stance. It would be their natural reaction.

Or will their sense of outrage and the need to meddle in other peoples’ business kick in and make them think it is a good thing to do to discourage people from hanging out in establishments with names like Déjà Vu (which actually is the strip club in Springfield where many legislators of recent years have been known to spend off-hours)?

I couldn’t help but notice that the strip club owners themselves are taking the attitude that they’re enterprising business owners who are being taxed out of business (the owner of Chicago’s Admiral Theatre is taking to calling this new $5 fee a “pole” tax, a pun on the poll taxes of old that is offensive on so many levels).

PERHAPS I’M SO mocking of this issue because I personally have never truly understood the appeal of such clubs. I’ve been in them on occasion, but honestly could care less if I never set foot in one again.

And only part of that reason is because I’m cheap when it comes to finances.

The whole notion of “look, but don’t touch” that exists in these clubs just strikes me as un-erotic. What is the point if there isn’t some physical contact? And there are some people I wouldn’t want to have physical contact with, for fear of what I’d contract.

It actually reminds of me of a gag I once heard from someone questioning why prison inmates would look at pornographic pictures of women, comparing it to looking at pictures of a Thanksgiving holiday dinner to try to satisfy one’s hunger.

IN SHORT, I’D wonder if the experience would be worth an extra $5 per visit. But if some people want to look so bad that they will cough up the cash, then that is their prerogative.

Whether she realizes it or not, Hutchinson has stirred up what may well be one of the most intriguing moments of this year’s Illinois General Assembly session. With the election cycle coming up, it’s not like any political person is going to want to take serious action on any issue of real significance.

Which means they’ll want to get all worked up over something like this, so as to justify the salaries and per diem payments they will receive for their work in 2012.


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