Original Titty-Tax Bill Loses Bounce

A rival bill emerges to tax sexually oriented businesses

House Bill 2070, the latest attempt by Rep. Ellen Cohen, D-Houston, to reform the so-called "titty tax," was scheduled for its first public hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee on April 1. But it's already lagging behind a rival bill (see "Staying Abreast of Tax Debate," March 13) by fellow Houston Democrat Rep. Senfronia Thompson, which would scrap the current $5 per customer surcharge on sexually oriented businesses and impose a 10% tax on admissions instead. Thompson's HB 982 sped through House Licensing & Administrative Procedures on March 18 and is now with the Calendars Committee. Both bills would provide funds for the Sexual Assault Program Fund, although Thompson's would send a fourth of the revenues to the Foundation School Fund. Cohen's staff claims her bill will produce $18 million a year; Thompson's office is still unsure how much her proposed tax would generate – and because the old surcharge is still in the courts, the Legislative Budget Board could not provide an estimate. However, the Texas Enter­tain­ment Association (the strip-joint trade group) has said it will not oppose Thompson's bill, whereas Cohen's could face another decade in litigation, freezing any taxes collected.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More titty tax
Supremes Wink at Titty Tax
Supremes Wink at Titty Tax
Constitutionality of less-than-lucrative tax at issue

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 3, 2012

Top 10 State Stories
Top 10 State Stories

Lee Nichols, Jan. 2, 2009

More by Richard Whittaker
Panic Fest 2022: <i>Dashcam</i>
Panic Fest 2022: Dashcam
Screen life horror works because you hate the "hero"

May 19, 2022

Annoying adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of pyrokinetic terror

May 20, 2022


titty tax, sexually oriented businesses, Ellen Cohen, Senfronia Thompson, 81st Legislature

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle