Fee on strip-club frequenters could help fund Pa. services, lawmaker says

    Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Murt is proposing a $5 fee for visitors to adult entertainment establishments to help fund gaps in the state budget. (AP file photo)

    Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Murt is proposing a $5 fee for visitors to adult entertainment establishments to help fund gaps in the state budget. (AP file photo)

    A Pennsylvania legislator wants the state to benefit every time someone ventures into an adult entertainment establishment.

    State Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery, would like to assess a $5 fee on anyone who visits a the venues informally known as strip clubs.

    Proceeds, he said,  would fund rape counseling services and resources for victims of domestic violence.

    He said it’s not the only fee heading for a hearing in Harrisburg to help close budget gaps.

    “Charging an admission fee for someone to get into a gaming establishment with the money being used for adults with special needs,” is another proposal, he said.

    Attorney George Bochetto, who represented two adult entertainment establishments when former Mayor Michael Nutter tried to implement such an entertainment tax in Philadelphia, said Murt’s idea amounts to basically the same thing.

    “There’s a very serious First Amendment issue this presents and whether it’s punitive as to this expression of art,” Bochetto said. “It may well be struck down on constitutional grounds.”

    Several strip club owners fought the Philadelphia tax, and it was struck down in 2014.

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