SOURCE: Smart Tan

Smart Tan

January 20, 2010 11:57 ET

Brown Victory Puts Tan Tax and Senate Health Care Bill Center Stage

Seventy-Four Percent of Salons Foresee Closures and Massive Job Loss From Unjust Tax, According to Smart Tan Poll

JACKSON, MI--(Marketwire - January 20, 2010) - Scott Brown's dramatic, upset victory in Massachusetts yesterday sent shock waves through the Obama administration and promises to alter plans for the proposed health care bill. As a result of the win, the Senate version of the bill, including its egregious 10 percent tax on tanning salons, has been thrust into the spotlight. International Smart Tan Network conducted a poll of its membership last week and found that about three-quarters of tanning facility owners would be forced to lay off employees or close locations if the "Tan Tax" were to be approved. More than 60 percent of tanning salons are small businesses owned by women. According to the poll:

--  74 percent of salon owners say the tax would force lay-offs or closures
--  15 percent say they are unsure what the total impact of the tax will be
--  Only 11 percent say the tax would not cause contractions in their 
    business
    

"The voters of Massachusetts have sent a clear message to President Obama that negotiating back room, sweetheart deals with special interests, like they did with the tan tax, does not sit well with voters," stated James Oliver, CEO of Beach Bum Tanning. "Tanning salons have already been stressed to the breaking point by the recession and the only thing a double-digit tax will generate is more unemployment. We are speaking up and our message is getting through."

Smart Tan estimates that up to 1,000 tanning businesses are already at the brink due to the recession and as many as 9,000 salon jobs would be immediately at risk if the tax is enacted. Initially intended as a tax on Botox cosmetic procedures aimed at Park Avenue dermatologists and their wealthy customers, the tax was replaced in a late night deal with Senator Reid by the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Medical Association and Allergan, the maker of Botox, to the Tan Tax that targets the middle class and largely female business owners and their customers. Although dermatologists often prescribe UV light therapy using the same tanning beds as salons, these physicians successfully lobbied to be excluded from the oppressive tax.

As a result, Smart Tan members and their customers have engaged in a nationwide campaign sending an estimated 200,000 petitions and letters to U.S. Senate and House members against the tax since late December. Getting the word out in the salons and through Facebook, owners and their customers are voicing their opinions in growing numbers to change the outcome of the health care bill in its current state.

"Congress needs to understand the lessons of the first tax revolt in Massachusetts," said Joe Levy, vice president, International Smart Tan Network. "There are 30 million tanning customers who vote, and they are tired of special interests driving new taxes against their consent. This election is a sign that Americans are saying 'no' to taxation without representation."

Salon owners and concerned citizens can send a message to their Congressperson to defeat the Tan Tax and support small businesses by clicking the following link: http://www.theita.com/Home/HealthCareReformBill.htm and can join the Facebook campaign to defeat the Tan Tax at: "Say No to Tan Tax"

About The International Smart Tan Network

The International Smart Tan Network (Smart Tan) was founded in 1985 to provide information and support to indoor tanning businesses in North America. In 1996, Smart Tan became a membership organization serving the indoor tanning retailers and now has more than 3,000 members representing over 6,000 professional tanning businesses. Smart Tan provides educational information and training to salon owners and employees to help encourage professionalism in all aspects of operation. Smart Tan's technical and service-based training helps member businesses service the needs of the 21st century indoor tanning community. For more about Smart Tan, visit www.smarttan.com

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