Or shall I say, a pole tax.
Texas was forced by federal law to end its poll tax on voters four decades ago, and now another levy has put the Lone Star State in constitutionally murky waters: the "pole tax."
Texas lawmakers last year imposed a $5-per-patron fee on strip joints to raise more than $40 million annually for anti-sexual-assault programs and healthcare for the uninsured.
The fee, which took effect Jan. 1, infuriated the owners of Texas' 162 strip clubs, who said politicians were cynically taxing a population they knew would not fight back. After all, critics reasoned, men who make a habit of drinking and stuffing currency in the attire of scantily clad women are usually not eager to tell the world about it at legislative hearings.
"It's not like Al Sharpton is going to show up and protest that we're being discriminated against," said a man who identified himself only as Dave, as he exited the Penthouse Club in Houston.
On March 28, however, Texas strip club devotees found a powerful ally: An Austin judge declared the pole tax unconstitutional, saying it infringed on expression protected by the 1st Amendment.
There is a Wendy's fast food place next door to one of the most famous strip joints in Tampa, The Mons Venus. The Wendy's parking lot is filled with signs explaining that this lot is for Wendy's customers only and that you car will be towed if it's here longer than 30 minutes. This is because too many cowards would park in the Wendy's lot and visit the Mons. The last thing you need is for your pastor to see your truck parked in front of a strip joint.
Protected by First Amendment? Would it be the end of the Republic if you couldn't open a strip joint across the street from an elementary school? Are the guys in Ashcanistan and Iraq endangering their lives for your right to stuff a buck in some babe's garter?