MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Paying to see a little skin might get a bit more expensive in Tennessee. There is a proposal to charge a tax on adult entertainment services. It would also tax the topless.
Even in a city like Memphis that is $14 million in debt, the idea of taxing strippers leaves Memphis Mayor A C Wharton flat.
Adult entertainment is not everybody's cup of tea, but alcohol sales from adult entertainment lounges used to put a good bit of a change into the Memphis city bank account.
There is no topless in Memphis anymore, but some legislators want to tax adult dancers. Mayor Wharton says this is a big waste of time for Nashville.
"What is good in Memphis might not be good in Moscow, Tennessee. So that's something the folks at home ought to decide, right there at the local level, whether they want it or not."
The whole idea of a stripper tax is to raise money so the state can ease off on the food sales tax. There would also be taxes on "adult sexual novelty items."
Just five years ago this plan wouldn't have had a chance of making it, but a Republican-controlled state house and senate has changed things.
Senator Jim Kyle of Memphis noted, "There are a lot of what might be considered extreme views, particularly with our house Republicans, mostly out of east Tennessee and we're just going to have to work our way through that."
Memphis city government might be so broke it can't even pay attention, but the mayor says he doesn't like this idea at all.
"I'm a little leery of stripper taxes, because that industry has had so many problems and you certainly don't want to sort of sanction anything because once you start getting money from it, it's going to be here to stay," Wharton said. "I would have grave reservations about such a tax."
A state senate committee will discuss the so-called stripper tax Tuesday afternoon in Nashville. If it is approved, it will go to the full group for a vote.