Dancers Groove to Protest Wash. State's Dance Tax

Washington state has had tax law since 1960s

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 2, 2013 8:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – How to fight a dance tax? Dance, of course. That's what dozens did in Washington state yesterday to protest a decades-old state tax on dance venues, the AP reports. Lawmakers are considering a repeal of the tax, and protesters on the steps of the state Capitol danced everything from salsa to the Charleston, even forming a conga line at one point, to express their support of the repeal. The tax, which dates back to the 1960s, is levied on businesses that offer people the "opportunity" to dance.

But supporters of the repeal point out that it's not enforced consistently: While smaller venues are taxed, large stadiums that host concerts are exempted. "Some places are being charged for this tax for some shows and not for other shows," says the owner of a ballroom who received a $250,000 bill for back taxes. "It's completely arbitrary." But the Department of Revenue says people like that are just upset at the back taxes they owe because they weren't "properly collecting sales tax." The repeal cleared committee and will go up for a floor vote in the Senate; lawmakers from both parties support it.

Melissa Petersen and Kevin Buster dance on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., Monday, April 1, 2013 to protest a decades-old state tax on dance venues.   (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
People dance on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., Monday, April 1, 2013 to protest a decades-old state tax on dance venues.   (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
Lauri Miller and Don Morgan dance on the steps of the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., Monday, April 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
Daniel Hanks wears a bumper sticker protesting a tax on dance venues in Olympia, Wash., Monday, April 1, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manuel Valdes)
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