Obama’s Tanning Tax Still Burning Taxpayers
In its fifth year on the books, Obamacare’s tax on the tanning industry is still burning a hole in taxpayers’ pockets. The “Snooki Tax,” as some refer to it, was the first of twenty new taxes in Obamacare implemented with the goal of paying for the broken healthcare system.
At its inception, the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the tax would raise $2.7 billion by 2019, and $1 billion from 2011 to 2014 alone. But as it turns out this was a gross overestimation.
Instead of hitting the billion dollar mark for its first four years, the burdensome 10 percent tax has only generated about $362 million in revenue in the first four years—barely a third of what was projected. This deficit creates a gap in the Administration’s plan to offset the exorbitant $940 billion cost of implementing Obamacare.
New White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projections have produced revised estimates that the tax will generate $955.7 million by 2019. However, if the tax continues generating revenue at current rates—an average of $90.5 million a year—it will only raise $814.5 million. The OMB estimate seems particularly gratuitous considering tanning salons are going out of business left and right. Not only is the rapid decline in “fake baking” due to ramped up awareness efforts about the risks of skin cancer associated with the practice, but consumers are also unwillingly to pay the price increase the tax has caused.
According to the National Review, this hidden Obamacare tax is actually a tax on women. The American Suntanning Association (ASA) reported that 70 percent of U.S. tanning salons are owned by women, and women comprise nearly 95 percent of staff at those salons. Since 2009, the number of people employed by the tanning industry has been cut in half, from 164,000 to 83,000 employees. That means that almost 77,000 women lost their jobs in large part because of this tax.
This damaging excise tax has not only proven to be an unreliable source of revenue, but it also is effectively squashing an entire industry. In June, right-minded representative George Holding (R-N.C.) introduced the “Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015” in the House, which continues to receive overwhelming bipartisan support. The ASA lauded Rep. Holding’s efforts.
"Representative Holding has shown his commitment to America's small businesses by introducing this bill," said ASA President Bart Bonn. "The tan tax is an example of a misguided policy, implemented with little forethought, which has crippled an industry and cost tens of thousands of jobs in communities across America."
If this bill passes, which is now sitting in committee, it could be the first step in chipping away at the costly provisions in Obamacare. It is imperative that Congress take action to disassemble Obamacare piece by piece in order to save taxpayers billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.