Lawmakers propose tanning tax

Reported by Max Winitz - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A new measure places a 10% tax on all tanning salons that carry beds with ultra-violet rays, which has many owners and customers worried.

Many studies have shown tanning beds may lead to skin cancer, so lawmakers proposed taxing salons that carry the beds.

The tanning tax is part of the Senate Healthcare Reform bill.  It replaces a measure that would have placed a 5% tax on all cosmetic procedures, which some lawmakers felt would have discriminated against middle aged women.

"It's very convenient that one particular industry, as far as I see, pay their way out of it and slide another one in," said tanning salon owner David Welch.

Welch, who owns Saule Tanning in Wilmington, says the tax will force him to raise his prices, making it difficult for some customers to continue paying for the service.

"Obviously if I have to pay a little more, I'm going to have to make a decision about whether I can afford to do that," said customer Alice Estey.

There are about 30 tanning salons in Wilmington and estimated 20,000 nationwide.  Lawmakers estimate about $2.5 billion will be raised over the next decade from the tax.

Copyright 2009 WECT. All rights reserved.