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Old 04-16-2013, 12:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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ITA Update 4/16/2013

Indoor Tanning Association, Inc., 2025 M St, NW Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 · Phone: 888-377-0477 · Fax: 202-367-2142

Member Update 04/16/2013:
In This issue:
President's Message
ITA's New Tan Tax Strategy
Tax Reform and Small Business
Our Opponents Continue to Raise the Stakes

President's Message
Over three years have passed since the FDA held its infamous day-long advisory committee meeting to discuss reclassifying sunbeds and sunlamps and to examine the need to add industry killing restrictions on their use. I think I speak for everyone in the industry who attended that session when I say it was a frightening experience to witness firsthand how much power the FDA has and how ill prepared we were for the pending battle.
The sobering reality of this meeting and the certainty of aprotracted and expensive battle with the Federal Government prompted us to establish the "ITA Special Fund.”
Over the past three years $636,000 has been contributed to this fund by hundreds of industry leaders and I am pleased to say we have made significant progress. While a portion of the money has been set aside for looming battles' legal fees, most of it has been used to build our arsenal.
By hiring talented scientists to look critically at the scientific studies that our adversaries use repeatedly in making their case to policymakers, the media and the public, we havevastly improved our position. As many of us were already aware, there are significant flaws in the studies used to bash this industry and now we have the scientific data necessary to support our beliefs.
One thing I have learned in dealing with our government is that while some things move at a snail's pace, it doesn't mean the danger has passed. Even after three years, the FDA is still under extreme political pressure to clamp down on us so we cannot let our guard down now. We need to continue to build the fund. Please contribute to the ITA Special Fund; it is another worthwhile investment in our industry's future.
Thanks, Rob
Shifting Gears …
ITA's New Tan Tax Strategy
By John P. Ribner
The Indoor Tanning Association has redefined its strategy to help repeal the Tan Tax, and the organization wants tanning salon professionals to get involved.
If salon owners wish to see the Tan Tax repealed, there are a few things they have to accept. First, that President Barrack Obama was elected to a second term; second, that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was not repealed; and, lastly, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the bill. In other words, the national healthcare plan is now the law of the land. Members of the tanning industry must now refocus their efforts upon repealing the Tan Tax; to do that, they must reach out to Democrats as well as Republicans.
The ITA's new strategy to repeal the Tan Tax places enhanced emphasis on reaching out to elected officials. "Last year, it seemed that the Democrat lawmakers were more interested in protecting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act than they were in discussing specific flaws in it,” said John Overstreet, ITA Executive Director. "As a result, while we were fortunate to have two Republican lawmakers – Rep. Michael Grimm (NY) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME) – introduce bills to repeal the Tan Tax in the House and the Senate, only one Democrat Senator signed on. In the end, neither bill garnered enough support to pass and there was never a comprehensive tax package on which to attach the repeal language. We knew it was important to fight for it, anyway, because it's extremely important to everyone in our industry.”
Overstreet says the winds have shifted in 2013 and the Democrats are willing to admit that some aspects of the healthcare bill that need to be fixed. "Our goal is to convince them that repealing the Tan Tax is one of them,” he explained. "We plan to convince them that placing the funding for the bill squarely upon the backs of hardworking tanning salon owners and their customers is not a good idea. Since jobs are the big talk on Capitol Hill right now, we hope to show lawmakers that the Tan Tax is costing jobs – and closing tanning salons – in their districts.” Overstreet added that the Tan Tax is what some lawmakers consider a "nuisance tax” – one that costs more to enforce than the amount of revenue it generates – and legislators need to be made aware of this, too.
For the ITA's efforts to repeal the Tan Tax to succeed, Overstreet says, salon pros must get involved. The most important way to do this is by joining the ITA, the organization that protects your right to tan. Whether you are an ITA member or not, you can join your colleagues at the organization's Industry Summit, scheduled for May 21-22 in Washington, D.C. "Rep. Grimm has agreed to reintroduce his bill to the House of Representatives , and members of this industry can help recruit co-sponsors,” Overstreet said. "We will match salon industry professionals with elected officials from their home states, so they can tell their Congressmen and Senators about the devastating impact the Tan Tax is having on their businesses. We will provide information for attendees to share with lawmakers during their meetings.”
To help promote the tanning industry's best interests, the ITA encourages salon owners to reach out to their local lawmakers and establish relationships with them. "As a paid representative for the ITA, I'm constantly talking with lawmakers all across the country; but it's the voices of the voters in these politicians' districts that really make the difference,” Overstreet said. "We encourage salon owners to reach out to their elected officials and get to know them on a first-name basis, because these relationships will be very helpful now, and in the future. By getting to know your lawmakers, you show them that those of us in the tanning industry are decent, honest, hardworking people who pay our taxes and, more importantly, create jobs in their states.”
Overstreet and the ITA's Board of Directors want to help all salon owners who wish to become more politically involved. Those considering reaching out to their state lawmakers – and becoming a member of the ITA – are urged to contact the organization for more information.
Tax Reform and Small Business
On April 10, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing on "Tax Reform and Small Business.” Committee chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) asked the ITA to submit comments on the provisions contained in draft legislation released by the House Ways and Means Committee. The purpose of this hearing is to build support for changes in the tax code that would be helpful to small business. We used this opportunity to call attention to the need to repeal the tan tax. Click here to read the statement
Our Opponents Continue to Raise the Stakes
Anyone paying attention to the media and state and Federal issues must have noticed a steady increase in the frequency and intensity of the attacks on our industry. Unfortunately, there are other ominous signs to which we must pay close attention.
While the ITA has significantly increased our political outreach, the other side is on steroids! According to the watchdog group Opensecrets.org, the American Academy of Dermatology Political Action Committee raised over a Million dollars in 2012!
Specifically, Opensecrets reports that the AAD-PAC donated about $580,000 to House and Senate candidates and Federal office holders last cycle: $177,000 to House Democrats, $244,000 to House Republicans, $52,500 to Senate Democrats and $32,000 to Senate Republicans.
The AAD spending spree doesn't stop with political donations. In addition, the AAD spent another million dollars on lobbying last year. Clearly we have a formidable opponent whose goal is to shut down your business. It is imperative that we stay united and work together to thwart this threat.
If you are interested in more specific information on what the AAD is doing in Washington, use these links:

Robert Klem
Superior UV Technologies
(888) 526-7712 x77
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