The tan tax repeal effort has been our industry’s calling card in Washington, D.C., for more than five years. The story of businesses closed and jobs lost, as a result of this unfair tax, has opened many doors for our industry.
2017 proved to be a difficult year for the new business-friendly administration, causing frustration for ASA’s federal efforts. Members wouldn’t sign on as co-sponsors for the tan tax repeal bill because they knew the tax would be repealed with the Affordable Care Act. Though Obamacare was sure to be repealed, it fell short by one vote. ASA quickly changed directions to focus on Ways and Means Committee members and Senate Finance Committee members to gain support for the tan tax repeal to be added to other bill opportunities. ASA also stepped up the campaign of securing co-sponsors for the HR 1150 bill to repeal the tan tax.
In December, ASA targeted powerful Ways and Means Committee Members with letters from salon constituents in their districts, pushing for support of the tan tax repeal. Dozens of letters were mailed directly from salons to their representatives, with copies sent to ASA’s Washington team to be hand delivered to their offices.
In January, Rep. Holding (R-NC), HR 1150 sponsor, took some major steps toward getting the repeal across the finish line this year. Rep. Holding held several meetings with leadership stressing the importance of getting the tan tax repeal added to an upcoming bill. Rep. Holding, along with ASA’s federal lobby team, continue taking action to get a very loud message to Republican leaders to let them know that this bill has been vetted by the House and Senate and has plenty of support.
In February, ASA kicked off a powerful campaign to show the federal government that the 10% Tan Tax is unfairly targeting women and needs to be repealed immediately. The multi-faceted campaign began with a request to the entire indoor tanning market asking salons, operators and customers to sign an appeal to lawmakers to repeal the unfair tan tax. The market responded positively, and nearly 10,000 postcards were signed and shipped to Washington to show our country’s leaders that women’s issues are important and the tan tax needs to be repealed immediately. According to ASA President Melinda Norton, “This turned out to be a great opportunity for our industry to show Washington that repealing the tan tax is very important and that thousands of businesses are relying on them to pass legislation to stop this devastating tax.”