Chris Christie signs bill to cut NJ plastic surgery tax
February 7, 2012
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has signed into effect a bill that will end the so-called "Botax" in the state, which imposes a 6 percent tax on plastic surgeries and other elective procedures.
According to NPR, the state legislature voted to repeal the tax in early January, but it was not known whether Governor Christie would sign or veto the bill.
The tax was imposed in 2004 and was expected to bring in about $24 million per year for the state.
"This is an income situation where people are able to afford elective surgery, they're not medical necessities," New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan told CBS News in 2005, according to the news source." Clearly, reconstructive surgery would not be part of it. So it's optional surgery designed to enhance one's appearance, as opposed to the necessity or quality of one's life."
However, the tax only brought in about $10 million annually to the state.
According to Forbes, the tax will gradually be phased out between now and July 1, 2013. On March 1, 2012, it will be reduced to 4 percent, and on July 1, 2012, it will drop to 2 percent. One year later - on July 1, 2013 - the tax will no longer be charged.
The move is one that many plastic surgeons in the state are happy about. One told NPR that because New Jersey was one of the only states in the Northeast that taxed popular procedures such as liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tucks, facelifts, Botox injections and chemical peels, many patients chose to go elsewhere.
That loss of business affects more than just the plastic surgeons who perform these procedures.
"When someone has plastic surgery, they're not only coming to a plastic surgeon," the physician told NPR. "They're utilizing a hospital or a surgery center; they're staying in local hotels; their family is eating in local restaurants; they're utilizing pharmacies to fill their prescriptions. So all of that revenue is lost."
Dissolving the tax stands to benefit quite a few plastic surgeons. According to a recent report from KSL News, which used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Board of Medical Specialties, New Jersey has a large number of plastic surgeons compared to its population.
Individuals looking to get plastic surgery in New Jersey or elsewhere are urged to research their doctor's credentials beforehand and only consider physicians who are both licensed and board-certified plastic surgeons.
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.
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