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June 10, 2011

Lawmakers Burnt By Contradiction in Position on Taxes

Lawmakers decry taxes on tanning beds, okay with taking away tax credits that could cost small businesses $28,000 a year

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said her organization is reaching out to a group of lawmakers up in arms over taxes on tanning beds to ensure they know they voted to take away tax credits for small businesses.

The Hill recently reported that 24 lawmakers signed on to a bill, H.R. 2092, written by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) that would repeal a tax on tanning salons. All of these members of Congress also voted for the far-reaching H.R.3, a bill that would take away tax credits from small businesses whose insurance plans include coverage for abortion care. An analysis shows that losing this tax credit could cost a small business as much as $28,000 in just one year.

“We don’t have a position on the tanning tax,” Keenan said. “But we are curious about how the same lawmakers who decry tax increases could be okay with supporting a bill that takes tax credits away from small businesses. We would hate for them to be unaware of this contradiction. As we all know, there’s nothing worse than a politician who says one thing and then does another.”

Keenan sent the following letter (see below) to Rep. Grimm and the bill’s cosponsors:

Dear Representative –

With great interest, I read yesterday of your cosponsorship of H.R.2092 and your position that taxes on tanning salons should be repealed.  I was especially interested to learn that those supporting this bill, like yourself, are doing so on the principle that “no one should face another tax increase in this economic climate.”  NARAL Pro-Choice America takes no position on the taxation of tanning salons, but in light of your concerns over taxation of small businesses and working women, I thought you might wish to reconsider your recent vote on another piece of legislation that burdens exactly the same types of employers and individuals: H.R.3.

H.R.3 would deny tax credits to small businesses that choose private health plans that cover abortion care.  These tax credits account for an estimated 35 percent of a small business’s insurance premium costs, and therefore comprise substantial – often essential – financial savings for small business employers who, as you are well aware, continue to struggle in today’s economy.  Take for instance, the following estimate by the National Women’s Law Center: A restaurant with 40 half-time employees whose wages total $500,000 and health-care costs totaling $240,000 per year normally would be eligible for a Small Business Health Tax Credit under current law.   Under H.R.3, however, if this small business offered its employees a health insurance plan that included abortion coverage, the restaurant’s taxes would be raised astronomically by $28,000. 

These are facts of which you may have been unaware when you voted for H.R.3.  In light of your concern this week for the tax burden on small businesses and working women, I hope you will give new consideration to your position on H.R.3. 


Nancy Keenan

The list of cosponsors includes Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Jason Chaffetz of Utah, Eric “Rick” Crawford of Arkansas, Jeff Denham of California, Sam Graves of Missouri, Frank Guinta of New Hampshire, Brett Guthrie of Kentucky, Richard Hanna of New York, Tim Huelskamp  of Kansas, Bill Huizenga of Michigan, Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Reid Ribble of Wisconsin, David Roe of Tennessee, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Steve Stivers of Ohio, Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Terry Lee of Nebraska, Pat Tiberi of Ohio, Tim Walberg of Michigan, Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, Kevin Yoder of Kansas, and Todd Young of Indiana. 

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