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Oconomowoc salon owner says Obamacare tanning tax forces her to close

March 11, 2013

Town of Oconomowoc - A clause in the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, has led to one local business shutting down, and is also affecting others.

Rio Tan, formerly on Brown Street, decided to close after the presidential election, said owner Marijo Rislov.

"When Obama defeated Romney in the election, I knew Obamacare would be upheld. In Obamacare there is a 10-percent tanning tax," she explained.

The tax was added to healthcare reform in place of an originally proposed 5-percent tax on Botox and cosmetic surgery referred to as "Botax."

Rislov said the tax made a significant difference in her business. She said she was making only a 10-percent profit at Rio Tan, "so Obama was getting 100 percent of my proceeds." Rislov said that instead of passing along the burden to her customers, she decided it was time to forego the tanning salon venture.

While Rislov said the tanning tax was enough to close up shop, Mary Beth Feider, who owns Jennifer & Co Tanning Spa on East Wisconsin Avenue in Oconomowoc, said she took over ownership of her business just as the tanning tax was implemented, so it's something that's always been there for her.

"I think people don't mind paying it. It's the same as a tax on cigarettes and alcohol," said Feider.

Feider said she also offers tanning at relatively low prices to attract customers and help offset the tax.

"You can tan pretty inexpensively with specials. We offer month specials like tanning for as little as 28 cents a minute," said Feider.

But Jason Ripp, co-owner of Tropitana Tanning Salon on Main Street, Oconomowoc, agreed with Rislov that the tanning tax has taken a toll on businesses.

"We saw right away that a lot of salons in the area shut down because of that, but for us when they closed we got customers looking for another place," said Ripp.

Ripp agreed that the tax cuts into profits. He said the salon tries to make up for it in other ways. "We try to sell more products because that's only a 5-percent tax. So we'll give away free tanning if you buy so many products," he said.

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Weekend Happenings

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Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: Nov. 27-30, Dec. 5-31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details. $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van. www.thecountrychristmas.com

 World’s Greatest Cookie Sale: Noon-4 p.m.  Nov. 28, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Sale features homemade holiday cookies and baked goods in many varieties. Entertainment includes magic shows, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting, holiday coloring contest and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sale ends at 4 p.m. For more information on the World’s Greatest Cookie Sale, call Country Springs, (262) 547-0201 or visit thecountrychristmas.com/cookiesale. Free.

 German Christmas Market: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 28, 29 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Oconomowoc, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Wisconsin’s heritage at this family festival that features heated tents, German beer, music, live bands, authentic German food, vendors, Santa and more. Free http://www.germanchristmasmarket.org. 

 Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 30, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, County Road K, Oconomowoc. Features local seasonally grown produce and artisan food products.  www.oconomowoc.org.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

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