President Barack Obama has some explaining to do. When he signed the healthcare bill into law, he formally broke his “firm pledge” to the American people that “no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”
Among the twenty one tax hikes signed into law as part of Obamacare, at least seven directly break Obama’s central campaign promise. The first of these tax hikes will take effect on July 1: the excise tax on indoor tanning services — a 10 percent tax on the retail price of a tanning session.
Leaving no stone unturned in their petty hunt for tax revenue, Senate Democrats in December added the tax behind closed doors at the last minute. There is no exemption made for families making less than $250,000 per year, thus violating Obama’s “firm pledge” to the American people.
Local news coverage from around the country has illustrated the paperwork and cost burden to salon owners, employees, and customers. The owner of two salons in Virginia has this to say about the new tax:
“It is very emotional to see your dream being literally shattered by someone in Washington.”
Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women.
Obama first broke his tax pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco. At that time, Obama was rightly called out by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press in a piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke”
On April 15 of last year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama’s tax pledge “didn’t come with caveats.” And to this day, Obama’s promise remains for all to see at the Change.gov website: “no family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”
Twice during the month of April, however, Obama tried to amend the terms of his “firm pledge” by claiming his promise applies only to “income taxes” rather than “any form of taxes”.
In his April 10 Weekly Radio Address, Obama said:
“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000. That’s another promise we’ve kept.”
In a speech on the evening of April 15, Obama repeated the truncated promise:
“And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year — another promise that we kept.”
Obama’s recent claims stand in stark contrast to his original promise:
“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” (Dover, NH) [Transcript] [Video]
What do you say, President Obama?