Court rules “pole tax” at strip clubs legal

File Image. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

AUSTIN (AP) — A state appeals court has ruled a $5-per-customer tax at Texas strip clubs is legal.

A three-judge panel of the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals rejected arguments from attorneys for strip club owners who contended it was unconstitutional for the fee to be charged on patrons at clubs that offer nude entertainment and sell alcohol or allow the customers to bring in their own alcohol.

The law to impose what’s become known as the “pole tax” was passed by lawmakers in 2007. It’s survived other court challenges since then.

Some businesses have been collecting the fee and others have been waiting for resolution in the courts.

The law earmarks the first $25 million of the tax every two years to a sexual assault prevention program. Friday’s ruling can be appealed. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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