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Plastic surgery tax

From the Creative Revenue Streams Department:

Lawmakers trying to plump up the bottom line are considering a “vanity tax” on cosmetic surgery and Botox injections in Washington, Illinois and other states.


The tax would not apply to reconstructive surgery for, say, burn victims or women who have undergone mastectomies.

In September, New Jersey became the first and so far the only state to tax plastic surgery, at 6 percent. The tax is projected to bring in $25 million a year.

In Illinois, the state comptroller has proposed a 6 percent tax on cosmetic surgery to create a stem cell research institute. If the Legislature approves, the question could be put to the voters in 2006.

In California, the very capital of cosmetic surgery, such procedures are tax-free.

Melissa Wilson, executive director of the Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons, said that, so far, Texas lawmakers have not suggested such a tax here. However, with other states considering it, Texas may not be far behind, she said. “We know because of the school finance issue that legislators will be looking for any and all sources of income,” Wilson said, adding that the society opposes the tax.

Man. We could fix the school finance system on the revenue generated from Houston alone.

Jokes aside, the point here is that the service side of our economy grows, proposals to tax portions of it will increase. Sooner or later, some legislator will realize that services as a whole should be treated as goods have always been and propose an overall change to his or her state’s sales tax structure. And really, why should lipstick be taxed but not liposuction? Why tires but not tuneups? We’ve had some preliminary discussion on this in Texas, and I daresay it will get a longer look this time around.

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  1. William Hughes says:

    ” Man. We could fix the school finance system on the revenue generated from Houston alone.”

    Ah yes, I can see it now: Boob jobs to prevent kids from becoming boobs. 🙂

  2. Demo Memo says:

    The problem with taxing services is, do you tax


    LAWYERS? Oooohhhhh…Half the Lege is lawyers.

    But unless you tax them, how do you justify taxing everyone else? And if you DO tax them, you’re increasing the health care burden on the uninsured by 8%.

    Hey–I’ve got an idea! How about an INCOME TAX??

  3. Demo Memo – Yes, if we’re going to depend on sales tax revenue, I would.

  4. Jim D says:

    It’s very simple. We need to replace our sales tax with a very broad GST/VAT.

    I personally favor a subtraction-method Value Added Tax.