Reporting Mike Dunn
By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Folks who frequent gentlemen’s clubs in Philadelphia may want to pay close attention to the city’s Tax Review Board today. The board will unveil its decision on whether the Nutter Administration was right to try to impose the city’s amusement tax on lap dances.
The Tax Review board held several days of hearings this past summer on whether lap dances are taxable. Attorneys for three clubs argued that the dances are a form of theater, and the amusement tax specifically exempts contemporary American theater.
One of the attorneys, George Bochetto, said, “American contemporary theater has lots of exotic type things, sexually provocative things, a great deal of nakedness in American contemporary theater, and are frankly indistinguishable from what takes place at a gentlemen’s club.”
The Nutter Administration argues that lap dances should be taxed because patrons are charged for them above and beyond the entrance fee. Whichever side loses in today’s ruling is likely to appeal to Common Pleas court, so the great Philadelphia lap dance debate will continue for months to come.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at stake. Club Risque and Cheerleaders, represented by Bochetto, face bills totaling nearly $900,000. Delilah’s, represented by attorney Stephen Howard, is being assessed more than $630,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties for lap dances.