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Opening Arguments

Lap of luxury

An inexplicable outbreak of common senseon the bench:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Lap dances are taxable because they don't promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York's highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

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.

But common sense just wins 4-3, which is probably the best we can hope for these days. A fundamental question is being overlooked in the controversy: Why exempt from sales tax performances that promote culture, thus requiring officials and courts to decide what's refined enough and what isn't? And an even better question: Why put a sales tax on entertainment anyway?