Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

Social nets roundup: Even SPF 800 won't protect you from the feds' new tanning tax, started at sunrise

July 1, 2010 |  6:22 am


It sparked a blistering Twitter exchange between Snooki and John McCain, but now a federal tax on Americans who prefer to get their sun in the salon rather than on the sand is, like an endless summer, here to stay.

Some 28 million sun-bed enthusiasts on Thursday face a 10% tax on tanning goods and services, thanks to a measure slipped late into the $940-billion healthcare overhaul. 

From Arizona to the Jersey Shore,  many of the nation's more than 18,000 salons are warning of a drop-off in business as a result of a measure that’s projected to gain the federal government $2.7 billion over 10 years.

Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan got our attention with his tweet: “Take cover -- the $2.7 billion Obamacare 'tanning tax' goes into effect tomorrow!

While the Heritage Foundation warned:   “Tan while you can! Obama's tanning tax hits TOMORROW. And small businesses are getting burned. #tcot"

And the RepublicanStudy adds for context:   @WMRepublicans First of $569,000,000,000 of taxes in Dems Health Bill in effect tom hurting small biz owners #hcr

Reality TV series "Jersey Shore" star Snooki earlier this month tweeted that she no longer uses tanning beds after "Obama put a 10% tax on tanning." You can read the whole Snooki-McCain exchange here.

Tanning salon customers will face increased rates per session that currently cost between $10 and $25 for a  typical 10-minute session that equals about a half-hour in natural sunlight (or perhaps three days’ grilling in front of the Senate). The tax does not apply to spray-tan services. Salons will have to pay more for each sun lamp and significantly reconfigure their tax filings.

And while we can sense the outrage from many concerned parties -- including that the tax disproportionally affects women, as most salon owners and customers are women -- we also can’t help but think it’s all a nanny-state plot to get sun-bed users out of the house and into the great outdoors. All while reaping future healthcare savings on treatment of skin cancer.  Could it also be a back-door climate change tax (cap-and-shade vs cap-and-trade)? 

Another bright idea for a better future? So bright, we’ve got to wear shades?

--- Craig Howie

Without fear of further taxes, you can click here to receive Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Follow us @latimestot or @craighowieLAT  or Like our Facebook page. We're also now available on Kindle.

Photo: Associated Press