Club owners skittish about new "pole tax"

By WEEK Producer

December 27, 2012 Updated Dec 28, 2012 at 12:04 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- As adult entertainment club Big Al's prepares to re-open Thursday night, a new tax is looming that will affect all adult entertainment clubs in the new year.

Strip club operators, like Al Zuccarini, objected to the so-called $5 "pole tax", designed to raise money for rape crisis centers.

Advocates argue alcohol consumption in clubs, where there is also nude dancing, contributes to a culture that can lead to violence against women.

The two sides negotiated a $3 surcharge per customer, with the option that clubs pay an annual fee of $5,000 to $25,000, based on sales.

Zuccarini says he will absorb that cost so it is not passed on to his patrons.

"It definitely takes a lot out; I'm going to have to increase that bottom line to cover these costs," said Zuccarini. "There is nothing I can do. We tried to reason with them, to no avail."

Zuccarini says his lawyers are still working to understand exactly how the "adult use" portion of the tax will be implemented.

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