The thirty million Americans who visit indoor tanning facilities each year are about to get an unwelcome lesson in ObamaCare every time they walk through the front door of the tanning salon. That lesson comes in the form of a president and a Congress with a target on the tanners’ wallets: starting today — July 1 — the ObamaCare tax on “indoor tanning services” takes effect — a 10 percent federal excise tax on the retail price of a tan.
The tax is just one of 21 tax hikes in ObamaCare, and the first of ObamaCare’s many pledge-breaking tax hikes to go into effect.
President Barack Obama’s central campaign promise was a “firm pledge” not to raise “any form of taxes” on any family making less than $250,000 per year. But sixteen days into his presidency, he broke that pledge by signing into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on cigarettes (Perhaps the only American who makes more than $250,000 per year and smokes cigarettes is named Barack Obama). At that time, Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press rightly called out Obama for breaking his pledge.
But Obama and the nanny-staters were just getting warmed up.
When ObamaCare was making its way through the House, it included the much-ridiculed “BoTax” — a five percent tax on cosmetic surgery. But when the Senate Managers Amendment was released on December 19, suddenly the BoTax was nowhere to be found. In its place was the tanning tax — slipped into the bill behind closed doors late at night, with no discussion or input from those affected.
Indeed, the tanning tax is a metaphor for ObamaCare in general — burdensome, expensive, petty, thrown together behind closed doors, and blind to the actual impact the legislation would have on people.
President Obama saw fit to crack wise about the tanning tax during his remarks to the White House Correspondents Association annual dinner. Meanwhile, out in the real world, small business owners were trying to figure out how they were going to be able to comply with the paperwork and cost burden the new tax would impose. This was a tax that came out of nowhere and came with little helpful guidance from the IRS. Dave Morris, owner of Sunrise Tanning in Mishawaka, Indiana, summed it up this way:
I work 65 hours here just to make ends meet. They take 10 percent off of that. It’s going to be really hard.
In the same city, Jillian Frank, one of the 40 employees at Fun Tan, said:
If business really starts to slow down, I could lose my job.
The owner of two tanning salons in Virginia had this to say:
It is very emotional to see your dream being literally shattered by someone in Washington.
According to industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association, over half of tanning salon owners are women. Just like barber shops, tanning salons are places where people gather and talk and share news of the day. For the next several months they’ll be talking about how Obama raised their taxes and broke his promise.
Taxpayer advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) has just released an “Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card,” a wallet-sized parody card which “exempts” any American making less than $250,000 from all taxes signed into law or threatened by President Obama. Cardholders are asked to present the card to merchants and if challenged, ask politely, “Are you calling President Obama a liar?” Users of the card are encouraged to film this scenario as it unfolds and submit it to the ATR website.
Some Americans may be thinking that because they do not visit tanning salons, they have nothing to worry about when it comes to getting whacked with higher taxes. But the White House has further designs on our lives: President Obama himself has floated the idea of a national sales tax on soda and sugary drinks. In an interview with Men’s Health, Obama said the tax was “an idea we should be exploring.”
Rest assured that soon one of your own habits will be ripe for a little “guidance” from the federal government.