'Bo-tax' vs. tanning tax; Senate looking for health care funding

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Part of the Senate's health care reform bill is a 10-percent tax on tanning. The so called "bo-tax", or tax on botox has been cut out. It is a huge victory for the American Medical Association.

The AMA has been lobbying against the cosmetic surgery tax, arguing a tanning tax would be a better alternative. But, now, those who tan, could face an even deeper financial burn to the tune of 10-percent.

The indoor tanning industry, mostly made up of "mom" and "pop" businesses across the country, say they don't have the pull in Washington to fight this tax.

Dan Humiston, president of the Indoor Tanning Association, owns more than 30 tanning salons and says some are closing-up, hit hard by the recession.

"They're talking about extracting $2,700,000,000 or $3,000,000,000 over the next 10 years from an industry that's struggling," explained Humiston. "It's a mistake. They've way overestimated the potential revenue stream. This is a joke. All because the health care bill needed to get passed and they needed a way to plug some deficit gaps in the spending. It's very frustrating, very frustrating. I know people in my industry, you know, we just feel helpless. We just feel helpless."

Most dermatologists, however, say this new wrinkle is a no-brainer. They hope this tax will cut down on prolonged exposure. The tanning industry worries taxing it may put more salons out of business.

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