The newly passed Affordable Health Care for America Act has become a burning concern for tanning salon businesses and their patrons.
President Barack Obama’s administration passed the hotly debated healthcare bill; one of the lesser-known provisions of the bill is the 10 percent additional tax on tanning salon fees.
According to cnn.com, the additional 10 percent tax on tanning salon fees will help to offset the $940 billion healthcare overhaul. Within the next ten years, the federal government would generate $2.7 billion from the tanning tax.
As a result of the fee increase, many salon owners as well as their customers are outraged.
“It’s like a slap in the face,” said Lynn Lanier, owner of Tan Shadows Tanning Salon. “Unfortunately, a lot of tanning salons are small independent businesses, which mean my rates will have to go up.”
Lanier is a member of a tanning association whose members have already begun to fight back.
“They’ve asked storeowners and customers to sign petitions and to send a form letter prepared by the association to congressman Allen Boyd, (D-Fla.), who’s over our district.”
Like many small businesses in this tough economic climate, Lanier is concerned with going out of business and said she understands that it could very well be her fate.
” To add an additional 10 percent tax would force tanning salon business owners to increase price and it’ll take money out of the counties and put owners out of business,” Lanier said.
The tanning tax has caused salon patrons to tighten their financial belts.
Savina Billups, 23, a senior public relations student from Tampa, said, ” I won’t go as often, instead of tanning two times a month, I’ll go every other month.”
Billups said the 10 percent tax is an unnecessary and said the government can pull money from other places.
“Why charge extra money for something that is so small?” she said.
While tanning patrons are concerned about the long-term financial effects brought on by the proposed tax increase, there are those who are concerned about the health risks of tanning.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the indoor tanning tax is a good public health policy as it will discourage all individuals, especially young people, from the practice.
Lanier said in the future, price increases may severely affect small local tanning salons.
“Patrons will no longer be able to afford our tanning rates, causing local businesses to lose revenue and eventually fold,” said Lanier.
To find out more information about the tanning tax increase, visit www.aad.org.