Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

NY's Highest Court Rules 4-3: Lap Dances Are Not 'Art' and Thus Not Exempt From Sales Tax

From the dissent:

The ruling of the Tax Appeals Tribunal, which the majority upholds, makes a distinction between highbrow dance and lowbrow dance that is not to be found in the governing statute and raises significant constitutional problems. I therefore dissent. ...

Like the majority and the Tribunal, I find this particular form of dance unedifying -- indeed, I am stuffy enough to find it distasteful. Perhaps for similar reasons, I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker. I would be appalled, however, if the State were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently "cultural and artistic." That sort of discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional. It is not clear to me why the discrimination that the majority approves in this case stands on any firmer constitutional footing.

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I agree with the dissent.

Woody, I think Forbes effort to funny was pretty weak. Not in bad taste. Just not funny.

Posted by: Ron Miller | Oct 24, 2012 6:38:07 PM

Since when does the majority of judges who are, after all, agents of the state in all its arbitrary exercise of power over the lives of its subjects, care about the Constitution, individual freedom or personal responsibility. Most judges are no different than the other parasites, the useless bureaucrats, the trigger-happy SWAT teams (and the countless useless cops who enforce drug prohibition), the union thugs, etc., who "work" for the government; definitely, they have long ago abandoned the pretense of working for the citizens. That three out of seven dissented from this ruling is a small victory that gives us hope for the future. I wonder if Elliot Spitzer paid sales tax on his prostitution fees.

Posted by: Dale F. Ogden | Oct 24, 2012 10:13:31 AM

A good analysis came from "Forbes" with insight as to how law students are dealing with high tuition:

In its defense, Night Moves made a compelling legal argument — as one would expect since the vast majority of strippers are dancing their way through law school — maintaining that lap dances are covered by the state’s exemption from sales tax for “dramatic or musical arts performances.” ...the New York Court of Appeals may well have dealt America’s economic recovery a crippling blow, as the Big Apple‘s shiftless layabouts may now simply stay home in lieu of paying a little extra for some hands-free lovin’. And rather than continuing to show up to work at empty clubs, strippers may just call it quits and finally finish up that law degree.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 23, 2012 8:41:05 PM

Well, there go their grants from the National Endowment for the Arts...or, does it?

Gotta love this comment in the dissent: "I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker." I'm offended by both, and The New Yorker has terrible cartoons, to boot.

Posted by: Woody | Oct 23, 2012 8:22:48 PM

Reminds me of "I know it when I see it"

Posted by: David | Oct 23, 2012 5:34:21 PM