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Show Me State Wants to Show Less

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A Show-Me State lawmaker wants a sin tax — on those who show too much.

First, Missouri banished sexy billboards and young strip dancers. Now, Republican Sen. Matt Bartle wants to force adult entertainment businesses out of the state by stripping them of their profits.

Legislation pending in the Senate would impose a 20 percent tax on revenues of all “sexually oriented businesses,” charge a $5 fee for each person entering their doors and prohibit them from staying open late at night.

“The goal of the bill is to make Missouri inhospitable for these businesses,” said Bartle.

Adult entertainment executives question whether the legislation violates constitutional free-speech and expression rights and warn it could hurt the state’s economy.

“It’s a small business killer and it’s a job killer,” said Dick Snow, owner of Bazooka’s Showgirls in Kansas City and a board member of the Missouri Association of Club Executives, the industry’s trade group.

As many as 1,000 Missouri businesses could be affected by the legislation, said Snow, who suggested the proposed taxes also could hit mainstream video and book stores that carry a few adult titles.

Two years ago, Missouri passed a law banning nude dancers younger than 19. Last year, it enacted a phased-in prohibition of most billboards for sexually oriented businesses.



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