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Wanna Get a Tan? There's a Tax for That

Congress' scheme to tax tanning salons to help pay for Obamacare turns pale.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The grand plan by Congress to tax "luxury" items such as indoor tanning services has turned pale after revenues fall far short of projections.

In a scheme only the federal government could cook up, the Joint Committee on Taxation imposed a tax on indoor tanning salon services to help pay for Obamacare.

Now Congress is feeling the burn.

The Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the "tanning tax" would raise $2.7 billion in revenue; however, both the Internal Revenue Service figures and the White House's own Office of Management and Budget show it garnered only $86 million in its first year (2011). In subsequent years, it raised only $91.5 million (2012) and $92 million (2013). I say it "only" raised millions but, quite frankly, a tax should have never been targeted toward this law-abiding industry in the first place. Now, even the OMB's revised figures show it failing.

The shortfall in projections is par for the course for the federal government where Obamacare is concerned. Last year, the federal healthcare mandate took a disastrous stumble out of the gate when the exchange's own website didn't even work. For days, news media personalities from MSNBC to CNN were on the air live attempting to log in -- only to be given error messages.

States soon piled on more problems for Obamacare, declaring it an infringement on states' rights and suing the federal government to opt out of the mandate.

As for enforcement and collection of the "tanning tax" to help pay the nearly $1 billion pricetag for Obamacare, there is no word yet exactly how much the government is spending to collect the tax. When asked by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) how much it is costing to enforce, the IRS responded in a letter on September 2, 2014, stating, "We do not track the cost of collecting the indoor tanning tax."

The true cost on business has not yet been fully seen, either, but it is intrusive on these salons, small businesses which have struggled to keep their doors open during the recession that's occurred under the Obama administration.

The American Suntanning Association reports that their workforce in 2009 consisted of 164,218; in 2014 it was 100,721 -- that represents a loss of more than 60,000 jobs.

As the government seeks to tax-and-regulate more of our free society, small-business owners of every kind ought be protected so that they can run their businesses with minimal interference from the government. Furthermore, consumers should be free to make their own free-market choices without having to pay a 10% tax to help fund a program they didn't want.

Capitol Hill insiders say that Congress is planning to introduce legislation after the 2014 midterm elections that would require the government to track the cost of enforcement in the collection of such taxes to pay for Obamacare. Until then, the federal government's long-arm reach into tanning beds will continue to be a proven failure.

In the meantime, a growing percentage of Americans want government out of their beds -- including ones in which they tan.

TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.

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