A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 21, 2010
Pole Tax (homophone of “poll tax”)

“Pole tax” sounds like “poll tax,” but it’s quite different. A “poll tax” is a tax affixed per person that has often (in the 19th century) been linked with the right to vote. A “pole tax” is a tax on strip clubs, taken from the “pole dancing” that’s often performed there.
The term “pole tax” has been used in the 2000s and was popularized in 2007, when Texas began the tax. The “pole tax” was legally challenged in 2010 and judged constitutional in 2011. A failed proposed 2004 strip club tax—designed to benefit the education of Texas schoolchildren, in contrast to the “pole tax” collection to support sex victims—was widely riduculed as “Tits-for-Tots.” 
Wikipedia: Pole dance
Pole dancing is a form of performing art, a combination of dancing and gymnastics. It involves dancing sensually with a vertical pole and is often used in strip clubs and gentlemen’s clubs. A similar pole (Chinese poles) is used in cabaret/circus and stage performance in a non-erotic environment, in which context the style and moves are very different.
Advanced pole dancing requires significant strength, flexibility and endurance. In a strip club setting, pole dancing is often performed less gymnastically and combined with striptease, Go-Go, and/or lap dancing between performers. The dancer(s) may simply hold the pole, or use it to perform more athletic moves such as climbs, spins, and body inversions. Upper body and core strength are important to proficiency, which takes time to develop.
Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary
Main Entry: poll tax
Function: noun
Date: 1692
: a tax of a fixed amount per person levied on adults and often linked to the right to vote
(Oxford English Dictionary)
poll tax, n.
A tax levied on every person; a capitation; = POLL MONEY n.
1692 Mass. Province Acts & Resolves I. 30 All persons who through age or infirmity are unable to manage their affairs are to be free of the poll-tax, at the discretion of the selectmen.
1726 G. SHELVOCKE Voy. round World 462 The Dutch..exact from all the men a Poll-Tax of a dollar a month.
1794 R. SOUTHEY Wat Tyler II. iii, Why is this ruinous poll-tax imposed, But to support your court’s extravagance?
1821 T. JEFFERSON Autobiogr. in Writings (1984) 24 The practice of the Southern colonies has always been to make every farmer pay poll taxes upon all his laborers, whether they be black or white.
1866 J. E. T. ROGERS Hist. Agric. & Prices I. iv. 84 The limit of age in the first poll-tax was sixteen, in the second fifteen, years.
25 April 2004, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Capitol hears from ‘full blast’ Strayhorn” by Ken Herman: 
The “pole tax,” some have called it. It’s no joking matter, Strayhorn insisted, calling it “partnering with sexually oriented businesses.”
Texas Adds ‘Pole Tax’ to Strip Clubs for $5-Per-Customer Levy
Friday, December 21, 2007
DALLAS —  Texas, where strip clubs have given rise to Anna Nicole Smith and many other less-generously endowed performers, is about to make it more expensive to watch a little bump and grind.
In what some have dubbed the “pole tax,” the Lone Star State will require its 150 or so strip clubs to collect a $5-per-customer levy, with most of the proceeds going to help rape victims. The tax goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Texas starts pole tax
The Texas legislature has started a tax on strip club admissions that is expected to raise 40 million. Although this is slightly less inclusive then my porn tax it has some of the same points and will raise the money for abuse centers instead of to remove the tax on food. This follows in the footsteps of the California legislature.
Updated March 26, 2010
Debate Over Texas Strip ‘Pole Tax’ Heats Up
Texas strip club owners argued before the state’s Supreme Court Thursday that a “pole tax” on patrons violates free-speech protections, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The club owners said that the tax, which imposes a $5-per-visit fee on people who visit the state’s roughly 170 strip clubs, is an unconstitutional limit on free expression.
But Texan officials defended the decision, arguing that promoting strip clubs leads to an increase in sexual assaults and other crimes.
Houston (TX) Press
Strippers to Fund Sex Victims: Court Okays “Pole Tax”

By Kimberly Reeves
Fri., Aug. 26 2011 at 3:31 PM
The state’s so-called strip club pole tax is not a violation of free speech, the Texas Supreme Court said today, sending the ongoing legal challenge of the fee back to the trial court on state constitutional issues.
Then-freshman Houston Representative Ellen Cohen navigated the rough waters of a Republican-heavy House to get the strip club fee passed in 2007. It was, in fact, a recycled idea proposed by Governor Rick Perry back in 2005 to pay for school finance, which led to its rather unfortunate “tits for tots” nickname. Nix that. Revised and resurrected two years later, the fee’s largesse, once passed, was to support survivors of sexual assault.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Wednesday, April 21, 2010 • Permalink

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