Mich. Bill Would Create $3 Adult Entertainment Tax

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. — A Michigan state senator has introduced a sweeping adult entertainment proposal that not only would tax strip-club patrons in the state but require all workers at adult clubs to register for special-work permits.

If passed, state Sen. Ray Basham’s bills, SB 43 and SB 44, would further regulate hundreds of adult venues in the state and create a $3-per-visitor excise fee. Attempts to create strip-club tariffs in New Mexico and Texas have failed in recent years, with Texas’ proposal struck down as unconstitutional.

Kevin Shopshire, Basham’s legislative aide, told XBIZ that the impetus for the senator’s bills came from the 2007 death of Stephanie Brown, 17, of Wyandotte, Mich.

"We had an underage woman a couple years ago who died working in an adult entertainment facility in Lincoln Park," said Shopshire, referring that Brown was illegally employed as an underage dancer at the time of her death from a cocaine overdose.

Shopshire said that if the bills are passed work permits would be required for all club employees, not just dancers. And he noted that the state excise tax plan not only targets strip clubs but all adult entertainment facilities, including nightclubs, bars, restaurants, bookstores and video stores where there is “a nude or partially denuded individual.”

The senator feels "these kinds of facilities create and harbor those kinds of problems," said Shopshire, noting Basham's proposal would earmark all earned tariffs for the state Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Fund.

Last year, a $5-per-customer fee on strip club patrons was declared unconstitutional in Texas. The charge was expected to raise about $44 million for sexual assault prevention programs and health care for the uninsured. But the state is still collecting the fee.

In New Mexico, another $5-per-customer tax proposal for strip clubs made its way to the Legislature for a vote, but that bill died.

With the Michigan plan, Shopshire said that both measures could clear the state’s senate and house and signed by the governor as early as March.