Mar 25, 2010 9:39 PM by John Romero

Tanning salon owners feeling "burned" over tax

Local tanning salon owners are up in arms over an element of the newly signed government health care bill that would charge salons a 10% tax annually on gross sales. The plan is to generate $2.7 billion over 10 years to help fund the health care overhaul. Rick Rooney has been in the business for 20 years and owns Sun Spot Atlantis in Colorado Springs. He says most salons simply cannot afford to foot the tax. "It's not like people (in the tanning business) are banking a lot of money, it's a tough business." he explains, "The last couple of years have been tough as it is and the industry is getting hammered."

Neena Goin has been tanning regularly for 9 years and loves the experience. "This is quick, easy and sanitary." she says, "I just feel better about myself when I tan." She defends the tanning salons and is afraid those taxes are eventually going to be passed on to customers. "I don't think it's fair to tax us for something we've already been doing all these years."

Rooney says he should be safe because of other services he's opened to supplement his tanning salon. Even so he says it's a tough pill to swallow. Especially because doctors who use tanning beds will be exempt under the tax. He says there's too much money and clout from the lobbyists for small businesses to compete. "I'm told when (I) use it (tanning beds), it's for cosmetic reasons. When a doctor uses it, it's for phototherapeutic reasons. You draw your own conclusions."

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