The strip clubs of Philadelphia are once again safe from the tax man. For now.
CBS Philly reports the Nutter administration has given up its efforts to collect a per-dance tax on lap dances in the city — this after a judge struck down the administration’s earlier efforts to collect the tax.
The crux of the ruling? That the Nutter administration had administratively decided to impose the tax — by reinterpreting the city’s “amusement tax” language to include dances — instead of getting a change in the tax law from the City Council.
George Bochetto, attorney for two of the three clubs that had been hit with the tax, is gratified by the Mayor’s decision not to appeal, but not surprised given the swiftness of Ceisler’s ruling. He says if the administration wants to tax lap dances, it should change rather than contort the law:
“The city on its own, purely the executive branch of the city, is not authorized to levy new forms of tax. City Council simply has not authorized the City of Philadelphia to tax interior activity in places of entertainment with an amusement tax. Not that the City Council could not authorize it. They could. But until they do, the city cannot in its executive function unilaterally seek to impose that kind of a tax.”
An unidentified city official told CBS Philly the administration will seek a change in the law to allow such taxes — so the battle isn’t over yet.
Previously: Why Can’t Philly Strippers Get The Comcast Treatment?
Previously: Judge Slaps Down Nutter Appeal on Lap Dance Tax