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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

Featured this week:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.