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"Strip Club" Tax Intended to Raise Rape Crisis Money, Rockford Center Says Help is Needed 

 
WIFR TV Rockford
March 9, 2012
By Whitney Martin

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- A local sexual assault center says it needs financial backing from state strip clubs in order to help abuse victims who work in the industry.

23 News Weekend Anchor Whitney Martin had the chance to sit down with Illinois Lt. Governor Shiela Simon today—she’s the state leader is promoting a proposed tax on area gentlemen's clubs

Rockford Sexual Assault Director Maureen Mostacci is cautiously watching her clientele grow as her budget continues to shrink.

She said, "We have stretched our dollar and services, its essential something be done."

The center provides counseling services to more than one thousand sexual assault victims every year. In fact, cliental is increasing 10 percent annually which is leaving some residents on a waiting list for help.

Simon toured the facility today touting a proposed bill that just passed a senate committee. Simon wants to enact a law that would require strip clubs to charge a five dollar entrance fee at the door. The extra revenue from the charge would fund sexual assault prevention programs.

Simon said, "We are not shutting down any clubs, we are just saying those who profit can bare a little responsibility for helping victims of sexual assault."

There are around 50 gentlemen’s clubs that serve alcohol in Illinois. Four of those are located here in Rockford.

One club owner says he thinks the surcharge is unfair. He is saying the facilities protect women who work in the clubs.

The center Simon toured today provides free counseling to victims, but relies on state funding to operate. Coming up on Wednesday we take a closer look at sexual assaults in our area and explain why the numbers are on the rise.