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Tax exemptions should not distinguish between highbrow and lowbrow entertainment

Oct 24, 2012 Tax exemptions should not distinguish between highbrow and lowbrow entertainment

By statute in New York state, taxes may not be imposed on admission fees for “dramatic or musical arts performances.” However, yesterday, New York’s high court decided to draw the line, 4-3, between so-called highbrow and lowbrow dancing, thereby letting ballet admissions fees avoid taxes, but not admission fees for exotic dancing, also known as stripping. In the Matter of 677 New Loudon Corp., & c., v. New York tax Appeals Tribunal, et al.

Praised be the 677 New Loudon dissent for panning the highbrow-lowbrow distinction. Moreover, having represented some exotic cabarets in the past, I have seen firsthand the First Amendment-protected expressive performance in such dancing and lapdancing, often with dancers who are obviously very talented and classically trained since years ago. More importantly, with the above-referenced statute, without even conceding that exotic dancing is lowbrow, there should be no highbrow-lowbrow distinction.

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