Mayor Luther Campbell would tax strippers for the public good

C. Stiles

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke — who is a candidate to replace more-boring-than-bread-pudding Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez — explains his plan to tax strippers for the public good.

On the campaign trail, voters and radio show hosts have been telling me that exotic dancers are not going to like me. They aren't going to vote for Luther Campbell because of my proposal to tax them. That is just flat wrong. Strippers love Luke. Pretty soon, now that voters have booted Carlos Alvarez, everyone is going to cast their ballots for yours truly.

When I move into that big office in county hall, I'm not going to repeat Texas's mistakes back in 2007. There, state legislators approved a $5 tax for each customer who entered a strip club. A Texas judge and a state appeals court struck down that law as unconstitutional. So, fellas, relax. It's not gonna cost you more to get a lap dance — unless a stripper is running game on you.

What I'm proposing is actually done in other major metropolitan areas. Take Atlanta. The city charges exotic dancers $350 for a permit to perform. In Houston, the city just raised its license fee for a new "gentlemen's club" dancer from $60 to $250. In some cities, these licenses have produced millions of dollars in annual revenue. And considering the hole that Alvarez dug for us, this could be a big plus.

Local police conduct background checks on female entertainers. That's a good thing.

If a stripper makes five or even six figures a year — and some do — a few hundred bucks to register with the state like a real estate agent or a nurse is a wise investment. For one, cities could keep underage girls out of the industry. For another, they could actually take care of their people.

Miami could be the first wave in a stripper tsunami. Exotic dancers from across the nation come here to get naked. We have more strip clubs than anywhere in the United States. We're home to the two largest strip clubs in the country — Tootsie's Cabaret and King of Diamonds — where P. Diddy and Rick Ross recently made $1 million rain on the dancers.

And just to make sure folks don't say I'm discriminating against women, I'm proposing male strippers pay for licenses too. In the end, the money would be used for much-needed services such as child care and after-school programs to help single moms — and single dads — raise their kids right.

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