An article written by Caitlin McDevitt in Monday’s Washington Post explains that Senate Democrats have decided to scrap their highly ridiculed cosmetic-surgery tax, also known as the "bo-tax." Desperate to find another revenue source that is perhaps less susceptible to mockery, Democrats have decided on a tanning "sin tax." The tanning tax is one of the seven tax hikes in the Senate healthcare bill that violate President Obama’s "firm pledge" not to raise "any form" of taxes on families making less than $250,000.
McDevitt explains that, "the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that, under the new proposal, taxable revenue from tanning salons will remain steady or rise slightly year over year for the next decade." However, history shows that the tax hike will only decrease demand and will fail to meet revenue claims. Not to mention, with the increasing popularity of spray-on tans and the tanning salon industry already suffering, it is highly unlikely that the tax will generate the $2.7 billion that is suggested. Senate Democrats fail to realize that this new tax, like all taxes, will only drive consumers to find an alternative.
Americans for Tax Reform has repeatedly pointed out how sin taxes only decrease government revenue, and are in fact a "placeholder" for future income taxes, etc. A simple explanation as to why sin taxes are ineffective can be found here and here.