Long Island exotic dancers rallied last week in favor of a voluntary, $5 “pole tax” that would go toward education.
Dancers at Illusions Gentlemen’s Club in Deer Park believe a $5 surcharge added to the club’s admission could go toward after-school activities. Three dancers gathered at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola on May 12. Carmella Cioffi, 22, who held a sign, “Stripper Pole Tax Helps Local Schools,” told the New York Post that she wants to give back to her community because of state funding cuts to education. "The government is always trying to raise taxes and here we are saying raise our taxes."
Governor David A. Paterson proposed $11 million in education program reductions in February.
"Lawmakers have a general aversion to raising any tax right now," said Lawrence Levy of Hofstra University's National Center for Suburban Studies. "So, even putting a tax, much less more clothing on strippers, isn't going to fly in places where they have the power to do such things," he told NBC New York.
A pole tax is not a new concept. Effective January 1, 2008, the state of Texas required a $5-per-person fee on visitors to strip clubs, but the state Supreme Court is now considering whether that tax violates constitutional free speech protections, Forbes magazine reported.
Paterson’s office said the pole tax is not under consideration, according to MYFOXNY.com.
NBC New York said the rally “appeared to be a publicity stunt for their local club.” The voluntary tax was to begin over the weekend with Amy Fisher, known as the Long Island Lolita, as the headliner. Fisher, then 17, became well known in 1992 after shooting Mary Jo Buttafuoco, the wife of Joey Buttafuoco, with whom she was having an affair.