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Pole Tax

by on October 30, 2012

How much of every dollar placed in an Empire State stripper’s G-string ends up in Albany’s granny panties? The government turns your tips to New York’s finest fishnet-clad ladies into change so they may fund a bloated welfare apparatus for millions and a possible stadium for a billionaire. Lady friction specialists subsidize those who want to avoid paying for their own form of lap dances.

New York’s highest court is letting other grabby state employees confirm Ronald Reagan’s worst suspicions about the government. Specifically if it moves, tax it, even if said movement takes the form of the appealingly gyrating rump of a coed improbably named Cinnamon:

A very divided New York Court of Appeals has ruled that lap dances are not art and don’t promote culture and are therefore subject to state sales taxes.

If you’re liking New York’s scenery, better get out the greenery. Blame snobby judges who think culture means ladies must keep on their tops:

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.

We still applaud your defiant move, Nite Moves. Those who experience the misfortune of finding themselves in Albany have a new place to hang out, especially if Cheyenne and Passion are dancing that night. Sadly, patronizing the heroic establishment might mean crossing paths with the state-employed drones who will never stop bossing you around even if you didn’t vote for them.

As for wholly unelected busybodies, the state’s highest-ranking judges have set forth a precedent of making ridiculous assertions about how only troupes with less revealing costumes should be permitted to dance away from the taxman:

The court majority said 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” that was adopted by the Legislature “with the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities.”

The majority reached similar conclusions about admission fees to watch dances done onstage around a pole, as well as for lap dances or private dances.

The smirk that accompanies picturing judges contemplating the distinctions involving performers using poles doesn’t outweigh the meddlesome outcome. Maybe they ruled poorly because they were disgruntled about not receiving expecting a tip. Regardless, one doesn’t have to patronize the sort of place where employees each wear a garment, singular, to think that the government’s dance moves are unsurprisingly lacking in titillation:

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has said all along the exemption didn’t qualify in this situation, spokesman Cary Ziter said. “We’re pleased with this decision, because it gives similar businesses clear guidance on the issue of sales tax when it comes to live exotic dance establishments.”

Way to kill fun, State Department of Taxation and Finance. Imposing on a good time is nothing new for New York. If you do manage to scrape together enough to have a bit of a blast, your bureaucrats get their share. Their contribution to fun is mandating pasty size.

The tantalizingly graceful night-shift workers are just trying to make a buck at a time. The still-amusing cliché about supporting single moms is as true as the businesslike nature of the lap-dancing transaction, as the comely ladies admirably work in close proximity to lonely male suckers instead of seeking benefits. Naturally, they’re punished for joining the entertainment industry. They’re providing a service to very interested clientele, and the state feels it must wedge between worker and customer to get its cut of supply and demand in stimulating action.

New York could avoid making ludicrous value judgments by not taxing any dancing at all, or any normal action, for that matter. The ensuing economic activity brought by freeing people to move without being billed for it will far overcome any disruption in services; in fact, people will start to see that their lives are just fine without the state’s intervention. Naturally, the latter entity can’t allow citizens to see how useless it is.

At least most dancers act semi-decently. Unlike at strip clubs, the government will screw you every time. Only your rulers are allowed to engage in such practices. They offer none of the fun and all of the unfulfilled frustration. Anyone as grabby as this state’s workers would have been bounced from a respectable gentleman’s club before the buffet opened.

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