Tanning tax gets cool reception from salon owner

By RUSSELL VINEYARD Baker City Herald August 02, 2010 04:02 pm
LaVonne Yeoumans says her customers have been understanding, but she’s still worried about possible effects

A tax on tanning has a local business in the dark.

LaVonne Yeoumans, who owns Kona Kolors indoor tanning salon in Baker City, said she’s concerned that the tanning tax, which took effect on July 1, will affect her  business.

“It bothers me as a small business owner,” she said. “I can’t afford to just absorb the cost and have to raise prices.”

The 10-percent tax on indoor tanning is part of the federal healthcare reform law.

Yeoumans said her clients understand that she didn’t raise the cost of their tanning sessions on her own volition.

“My clients have been very good at understanding that the government is raising the price, not me,” she said.

To compensate for the extra cost, she said she has been offering an extra tan for people purchasing larger packages, and a free sample of lotion for those purchasing smaller packages.

“I want to offer a little customer appreciation,” she said.

Yeoumans said that in June she had about 800 customers, and although July brought warmer and sunnier weather, she doesn’t expect her business to lessen.

“Most people work during the day and want to spend the weekend out boating or at a ball game, they really don’t have time during the sunny days,” she said.

Yeoumans, who operates Kona Kolors with her husband and daughter, thinks the tax is unfair to small businesses.

She encourages people who feel the same to contact their representatives.

“It’s always possible to contact the legislators and complain. Voice your opinion if you don’t think it is a fair tax,” she said.