In 2010, Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi, the very tan star of the hit reality television show Jersey Shore, declared “I don’t go tanning anymore, because Obama put a ten percent tax on tanning.”
She was referring to a new tax that was included in the Affordable Care Act that had passed that year, which did exactly what she said: Levied a ten percent tax on anyone wanting to get a tan and businesses that offered these services.
After her comments on the wildly popular show, it was nicknamed the ‘Snooki Tax.’
Now Rand Paul wants to repeal it.
The senator said Tuesday that the tax has unfairly hurt the tanning business for too long. Paul is joined by his fellow Republican Senators Joni Ernst, and Deb Fischer as co-sponsors of the ‘Tan Tax Repeal Act.’
In 2012, the Washington Post reported that after two years, “Northwestern University researchers surveyed 308 indoor tanning salons in Illinois and found that patrons certainly don’t appreciate the new fee: 79 percent, just like Snooki, oppose it. But the extra cost wasn’t enough to stop them from hitting the tanning bed. In the same survey, 78 percent of salon patrons also said they didn’t care about the new excise tax.”
Four years in, by 2014, it appeared that the tax was having a negative effect on the tanning industry, for customers and businesses. Politico reported at the time, “Industry advocates blame the tax itself, saying it drove many out of business.”
No fistbump for Obamacare Snooki tax http://t.co/R9FFa0N7rg
— POLITICO (@politico) April 25, 2014
The story continued, “It’s effectively a price increase for our customers,’ said Barton Bonn, head of the American Suntanning Association who himself owns 19 tanning salons. ‘Anybody knows that if you increase the price on a product or service, some people are not going to show up after the price increase, and that’s what occurred.’
“John Overstreet, who runs the Indoor Tanning Association, points to IRS figures showing the number of tax forms reporting paying the tax fell by 13 percent between March 2011 and March 2012,” Politico reported. “You don’t file a return and then quit filing returns unless you’re out of business,’ he said.”
Though indoor tanning has also decreased over the years seemingly due to certain health concerns, the tanning tax still appears to be a significant factor in this decline.
A press release from Paul on Tuesday claimed, “According to the American Suntanning Association, since the ‘Tan Tax’ was implemented, over 11,000 primarily female-owned businesses have closed across America and more than 105,000 women have lost their jobs. The tax has also killed U.S. suntanning equipment manufacturing in many states, including Arkansas, California, Indiana and Missouri, shifting production jobs almost exclusively to European suppliers.”
Senator Paul said the tax has hurt businesses that are disproportionately owned by women. “The Tan Tax is not only an unnecessary tax on consumers, but also a prime example of bureaucratic overreach that unnecessarily hurts small businesses – and the majority of the businesses in this industry are women-owned,” the senator claimed in his press release.
In 2010, Snooki said that Obama’s Republican presidential opponent in 2008, the late Senator John McCain, would have never taxed tanning. “McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he’s pale and would probably want to be tan,” the reality star said.
McCain said she was right.
@Sn00ki u r right, I would never tax your tanning bed! Pres Obama's tax/spend policy is quite The Situation. but I do rec wearing sunscreen!
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) June 9, 2010
In 2017, Paul was part of the Republican effort to get rid of the tanning tax that obviously wasn’t successful.
— Andrew Wilkow (@WilkowMajority) March 7, 2017
Maybe these Republicans have better luck this time. All for the Snooki.