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The NY State Supreme Court Let's Us Know That No, Lap Dances Aren't Art (and Can Be Taxed)


"significant constitutional problems"

Attorney W. Andrew McCullough, representing the strip club Nite Moves, and his client Stephen Dick, Jr. emerge from the New York State Court of Appeals on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 in Albany, N.Y.. Credit: AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A sharply divided court in New York says lap dances don't promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, and so shouldn't get a tax break.

The state's top court split 4 to 3. Dissenting justices conclude 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, an adult club in suburban Albany that was arguing its fees for admission and private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

The court majority says taxes apply to many entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and sporting events. It ruled the club has failed to prove it qualifies for the exemption for "dramatic or musical arts performances" meant to promote culture.

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