The state’s top court ruled Wednesday that lap dances are not legally considered art and therefore can be taxed, deciding a case surrounding an Albany-area strip club that had gained national attention.
The court ruled that lap dances fall under “entertainment” such as amusement parks and a figure skating show, both of which are taxable.
From the ruling:
“If ice shows presenting pairs ice dancing performances, with intricately choreographed dance moves precisely arranged to musical compositions, were not viewed by the Legislature as ‘dance’ entitled a tax exemption, surely it was not irrational for the Tax Tribunal to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status. “
Three judges disagreed, including Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman. Judge Robert Smith wrote the dissenting opinion, which included this gem:
“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.”
(AP Photo/Times Union)
Below, you can read the decision in full: