ASPS Defeats Cosmetic Tax in Utah
Since March, ASPS has been working with a coalition that includes the Utah Society of Plastic Surgeons (USPS) and Utah Medical Association (UMA) to defeat a cosmetic medical tax provision in a Utah tax reform proposal. Earlier this year, the state's legislature attempted to levy a 3.1 percent cosmetic sales tax in a misguided effort to generate state tax revenue.
Upon learning of the initial cosmetic tax proposal in March, the ASPS quickly activated an aggressive grassroots campaign to all of its Utah members encouraging them to contact their legislator to stop the proposal from passing out of the Utah House. ASPS also encouraged members of the Stop Medical Taxes Coalition to share ASPS's grassroots alert with their own Utah memberships to encourage diverse engagement from the state's medical community. Thankfully, these efforts – coupled with strong opposition from other business stakeholders – ensured that the tax reform measure was not brought up for a vote. It subsequently failed upon adjournment of the legislature's regular session.
Shortly after the legislature adjourned, Governor Gary Herbert expressed his plan to convene a special legislative session to readdress tax reform. The legislature then moved forward with establishing the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force to debate potential revenue options and seek public input on reforms through a series of public townhall meetings across the state.
ASPS activated a grassroots and social media campaign in conjunction with the launch of the Task Force encourage Utah ASPS members to share their opposition to the cosmetic tax. Additionally, ASPS members Brian Brzowski, MD, Renalto Saltz, MD, and Kimball Crofts, MD – the current President of the Utah Society of Plastic Surgeons – represented the specialty by testifying in-person during the July 30 townhall hearing to educate lawmakers about how a cosmetic tax would decrease Utahns access to care. Throughout the summer and fall, ASPS conducted strategy calls and supplied UMA and industry with outreach collateral to better educate lawmakers about the consequences of a cosmetic tax in their respective meetings.
In November, when the task force revisited the tax proposal in a special legislative session, ASPS worked with USPS and the UMA to ensure that no cosmetic tax was included in the updated proposal. On December 18, 2019, Governor Gary Herbert signed into law the final tax reform bill with no cosmetic medical tax included – delivering a tremendous victory for ASPS, the coalition and the specialty.