‘Tan’gible Taxation: Right or Wrong?

A new tax on the use of tanning in the United States has put a crimp in thebusinesses of local tanning solons here in Anchorage. “We’ve had to raise prices” says business manager, Garrett Huff of the local tanning solon, Hex Tan. The 10 percent tax established as part of the health care bill signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010 has businesses around the nation paying the government an extra ten percent on all services that customers use. And small, independent businesses seem to be taking the fall. “ People are so used to our prices, so it’s hard to say ‘ yep, these are the new prices’,” says Huff. When asked if he thought the new tax was fair, Huff said no, saying that “ if we were a chain solon, I can see the tax being fair, but since were a family operated business, it hits us harder”. Even teens, who account for more than 30 percent of tanning salon users, have their own complaints about the tax. “It’s outrages. Tanning compensates for the lack of sun up here, ” said Nick Caudel, a Dimond High student who tans a few times a week. When asked why he tans, he says for the “ aesthetics.” But others teens have a different opinion. “They should make it 20percent,” said Brit Murphy of Dimond. She’s for the tax, and says that it’s a “slap to the face” to people who get skin cancer, and weren’t asking for it, contrary to people who are, by tanning. The Center for Disease Control reports that less than one-third of American teens practice effective sun protection, which is key to a cancer free life. The cancer which is caused by tanning is called melanoma, which is the most common type of cancer caused by sun exposure, according to CBS.com. And even with the known dangers, teens aren’t stopping their visits to the booths. Even when asked if she knew the dangers of tanning, and the harmful effects that come with that ‘glow’, Angie Rowley says she wouldn’t go for the alternatives like spray tanning. But even with other alternatives in the market, like spray tanning, people aren’t catching on to the point the government is trying to make. So why put a tax on their bad choices, if it’s not going to stop them? According to Gray Television, the federally mandated tax is supposed to generate over $2.7 billion dollars over the next ten years, to help pay for the Obama Administration Health Care Reform, which is expected to ring up a total of $940 billion dollars in costs.