Pole tax

The great American lap dance is neither a cultural event or an artistic performance. Says who? The Supreme Court Court of Appeals of the State of New York, that’s who:

Lap dances are taxable because they don’t promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York’s highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there’s no distinction in state law between “highbrow dance and lowbrow dance,” so the case raises “significant constitutional problems.”

The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

One of the dissents, by Judge Robert Smith:

The majority implies that since the Legislature did not exclude from the entertainment tax other lowbrow forms of entertainment, such as baseball games and animal acts … it would not have wanted to exclude pole dancing; but the issue is not what the Legislature would have wanted to do, but what it did.

Complete ruling here. You can bet they’re reading this in Valley Brook — those who can read, anyway.


  1. fillyjonk »

    24 October 2012 · 12:02 pm

    Wow. I thought considering some entertainment “lowbrow” was verboten these days.

    Now I’m envisioning a mashup of this idea and that OK state question about tax on teaching certificates and intellectual property and it’s making my head hurt.

  2. McGehee »

    24 October 2012 · 12:14 pm

    I believe the “Supreme Court” in New York is actually a lower court, while the court that is actualy supreme is called (IIRC) the “Superior Court.”

    Presumably because it’s superior to even the “Supreme Court.” Or something. Anyway, the ruling at the link does seem to imply that the ruling is from the non-“Supreme” court that actually is supreme.

  3. CGHill »

    24 October 2012 · 12:23 pm

    Oddly, a record by the Supremes came up just now on the office box. (Not the Superiors.)

    Apparently the Court of Appeals outranks the Supreme Court in New York.

  4. Roger Green »

    24 October 2012 · 12:45 pm

    I think the ruling was wrong for the reasons stated in the dissent. And McGehee is right about the weird NYS nomenclature.

  5. Jess »

    24 October 2012 · 2:09 pm

    I have a feeling pole dancing is demanded much more than the Opera. With this in mind, I can only think there’s no morality involved with this decision; it’s the continuing pursuit of money for the power addiction of the politicians.

  6. Charles Pergiel »

    24 October 2012 · 2:12 pm

    I folllowed the Valley Brook link. Three tenths of a square mile? It sounds like someone deliberately carved it out of the metropolis so they could have their own little Las Vegas. You don’t need to fly anywhere, you can divest yourself of your extra moola right here in OKC.

  7. CGHill »

    24 October 2012 · 4:26 pm

    Actually, Valley Brook is more like 0.25 square mile: half a mile on each of four sides. (Section-line roads mark the north and east boundaries.) It was carved out before Oklahoma City annexed everything in sight.

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