Proposed 'tan tax' has salon owners concerned about health care overhaul

Tanning salon owners are keeping an eye on Washington, wondering whether health care reform will include a tax increase for them.

The Senate-passed bill includes a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning to help pay for extending health care coverage to those without it.

It's a cost that Wichita tanning salon owners say they can't absorb.

"Small businesses are hit right now as it is, and one more tax is not what we need," said Kay Waite, owner of Tan-Do at 550 N. Rock Road.

Cathy Bloss, whose family opened Maui Tan at 1317 N. Maize Road five months ago, said, "We're hoping it's not going to happen. But (if it does), ultimately it's going to be passed along to the customer — it has to be."

Health care reform is on hold for now, with lawmakers waiting to see what President Obama says tonight in his State of the Union address.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has said Democrats have four options: no bill, a scaled-back measure designed to attract some Republican support, the House passing the Senate bill, or the House passing the Senate bill with both chambers making changes to bridge their differences.

Local tanning salon owners are asking their representatives in Washington not to include a tax on them in any final legislation.

The tanning tax replaced an earlier proposed tax on cosmetic plastic surgery procedures after intense lobbying.

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