Ruling from the bench after a brief hearing, Common Pleas Judge Ellen Ceisler this morning rejected the city's attempt to impose a tax on lap dances in strip clubs.
Mayor Nutter's administration was appealing a decision by the Tax Review Board, which said the city's application of the amusement tax - 5 percent on admission charges - to lap dances at certain strip clubs was inappropriate.
She sided with lawyers for the strip clubs, who argued that the clubs already pay the amusement tax on cover charges, that "interior activities" are not subject to the tax and that the city was applying the tax inconsistently.
"It's plain that the amusement tax is crafted in a way to apply to door charges, admissions fees, cover charges. It is not intended to cover interior entertainment issues," said attorney George Bochetto, who represented Cheerleaders and Club Risque. "If the city wants to tax interior amusement activities, then they need to go to City Council."