Salons feel the heat from new tanning tax - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Salons feel the heat from new tanning tax

Crystal Davis Crystal Davis
Michelle Kiniery Michelle Kiniery
Dave Passmore Dave Passmore
Mark Rapoza Mark Rapoza

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Crystal Davis tans indoors.

Even in Hawaii where sunshine is abundant, thousands of men and women get their ultraviolet fix in tanning booths and on tanning beds.

"I come in for twelve minutes. It's the same effect as if I'm out in the sun for an hour or an hour and a half," Michelle Kiniery said.

But the tanning industry feels it's being burned by a new federal tax.

"This is completely unfair. This is unfair," said Dave Passmore, who owns Suntime Indoor Tanning.

On July 1, the Indoor Tanning Regulation Act kicked in as part of President Obama's health care program.

It tacks on an extra 10% in federal taxes on every tanning session salons sell.

Owners pass it on to their customers.

"If I had to pay it I wouldn't be in business. It would put me out of business," Passmore said.

On average, the tax adds about $8 on monthly memberships that go for around $85.00.

It adds $3 on individual sessions that sell for $35.00.

It adds up.

"I was shocked at first. I was shocked," Kiniery said.

Owners are feeling the heat. At Sun Splash Tans some customers have quit or cut back.

"I think at first they almost blame us. At the same time they understand it's not us and it's not our fault," owner Mark Rapoza said.

Passmore just returned from a convention where the tanning tax was the hot topic.

"On the mainland there have been tanning salons that already closed down. They just can't deal with it," he said.

The Obama administration hopes to raise $2.5 billion dollars from the tax. An estimated 28 million Americans tan at tanning salons.

Salon owners like Passmore and Rapoza are trying to get the levy repealed through petitions.

But they say it's a long shot to reverse a tax that's another cost of doing business..

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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