Burning up over Tanning Tax

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Days are getting warmer and inching closer to spring. As many people hit up the tanning beds to prepare for spring attire, Congress is preparing to jack-up prices for tanning salons and impose a 10% sales tax as a part of the Health Care Reform Bill.

"It's such nonsense that's it's hard for me to respond rationally to it. It's just total nonsense," says Scott Young, owner of Tan In Paradise.

Young says a proposed tax of tanning is attaching a mom-and-pop industry and shouldn't be included in the Health Care Reform Bill.

"The Tan Tax is about political pressures. It's cod–wallop," says Young.

The Tan Tax is a result of the U.S. Government looking for ways to pay for the Health Care Reform Bill that is said to cost $1 trillion.

Originally, it wasn't included in the bill. Instead, cosmetic procedures such as liposuction and injections of botox were going to be taxed 5%, raising $5.8 billion over a 10 year period.

However, doctors and industry groups lobbied against the so called Bo-Tax and the Senate replaced it with the Tan-Plan, which will raise $2.7 billion. That's $3.1 billion less than the Bo-Tax.

A change that upsets the Tan Industry.

"It shouldn't be there. There's no reason for it," says Young.

The Senate says the Tan Tax is not only a way to pay for reform, but it will also save lives.

In July, the World Health Organization took "probably" out of its cancer warning for tanning beds and categorized them as carcinogenic.

Three years ago, Tan In Paradise client Shawna Milsap was told she had pre-cancerous skin cells on her nose.

"I went and had the laser treatment and everything done to it," says Milsap.

But says tanning beds actually make her feel better.

"In the winter my skin cancer gets like kind of flaky, you know it flares up a little bit more and I notice every time when I start tanning again, it kind of mellows it out and it's actually a lot healthier," says Milsap.

The Indoor Tanning Association claims exposure to UV light helps the body produce the activated form of vitamin D, which wards off a host of diseases such as osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis, cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, etcetera.

Young says the Tan Tax will ultimately mean he will lose some customers and says it will bring extra work for those in the industry.

"It will make us have to work harder to communicate to customers the benefits of tanning, not just the cosmetic appeal to it," says Young.

The Senate passed the Health Care Reform Bill with the Tan Tax in it back in December. Now it's up to the House of Representatives to accept or deny the bill.

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