Memphis Lawmaker Wants to Tax Adult Entertainment - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: Dawn Murphy 3/6/2005, 11:12pm

Memphis Lawmaker Wants to Tax Adult Entertainment

Producers of the movie "Walk the Line" must have really liked Memphis. Shooting in the bluff city cost them millions more than it would have in states that offer better incentives to movie-makers.

"We're getting ready to lose an industry," says Memphis film commissioner Linn Sitler. Sitler thinks another industry could be the saving grace: adult entertainment. She's working with lawmakers to pass a tax that would mean two additional dollars at the door for patrons of places like Platinum Plus and other strip clubs. State Representative Larry Miller introduced the legislation. "From a public relations standpoint--I would prefer they support the bill rather than fighting the bill," says Miller, Democrat of Memphis. If passed--he says the two dollar tax would generate about two million dollars a year.

Not only would it help fund films, but women's advocacy groups as well. "It's like a double win," says Sitler. Bryan White, a manager at "The Caberet" in south Memphis, says strip clubs stand to lose. "Two dollars is just the start of something much bigger," says White. He says charging more at the door will only hurt his business. "You know, one week they're shutting us down for prostitution--and the next week, give us two extra dollars," says White. "But I think that if they're going to be here and a part of the community--they need to contribute in a positive way to the community," Sitler points out.

There is still a lot to be determined here. That includes how much money would go to the film fund versus women's advocacy groups. And right now, there is a stipulation requiring films that receive funding to cast women in quote "a positive light."

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