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Illinois Legislature |Considers $5 ‘Skin Tax’

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) - A "skin tax," which would impose a $5-per-patron tax on Illinois strip clubs, will go to the state Senate floor after passing its first hurdle in a committee.

The law would impose the tax on "live adult entertainment facilities" statewide. The money would go to a new Sexual Assault Prevention Fund, which will make grants "for the purpose of providing community-based assistance to victims of sexual assault and for activities concerning the prevention of sexual assault."

The bill ignited a debate over the cause-and-effect, if any, that strip clubs have on sexual assaults.

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights, claims studies show that crime, especially sexual offenses, are more prevalent in areas with strip clubs.

But Michael Ocello, president of the Illinois Club Owners Association, told the Chicago Tribune that there is no proof "that going to an adult club causes people to go out and commit rape."

There are more than 100 strip clubs in Illinois.

Texas recently passed a similar bill that one estimate claims could bring in $44 million a year, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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