New Jersey to Washington: Don't Do It!

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N.J. state legislator discourages cosmetic tax for Washington after policy fails in the Garden State

New Jersey state legislator Joseph Cryan today urged Washington state legislators to avoid the cosmetic tax provision as a means to boost state revenues. The New Jersey member of the General Assembly warned of the tax’s unintended consequences, discriminatory bias, and inability to actually generate public revenues.

“New Jersey had to learn our lesson the hard way,” said Joseph Cryan, New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader and sponsor of the state’s cosmetic tax legislation. “Every public servant approaches their duties with the intention to improve the state they love, to recover its economy when ailing, to help the constituents who may be struggling. In New Jersey, we enacted a creative tax policy that buttressed much-needed public programs and seemed to work on paper. In practice, this policy was counter-productive. I urge Washington’s state legislators to avoid my mistakes and strip the cosmetic tax from their budget proposals.”

This week, Washington policy makers have commenced a special legislative session to close the state’s $2.8 billion budgetary shortfall. As such, some have suggested a tax of up to 9.5 percent on elective cosmetic surgeries, an initiative estimated to collect $20 million. However, many remain skeptical after New Jersey’s experience which raised less than half of anticipated funding, while losing $3.39 in total state revenue for every dollar collected.

“When we sit down with patients to determine a course of treatment, the conversation is personal, intimate, and should remain private,” said Dr. Phil Haeck, incoming president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and a practicing physician. “If tax collectors are invited into the exam room, that conversation is no longer about patient needs, but regulations, rules and revenue. On behalf of doctors across Washington, I strongly advise policy makers in Olympia to reject this policy and fight to keep medical decisions between patients and their physicians.”

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Brittany Gross

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Dave Jenkins
Office of Assemblyman Joseph Cryan
908-624-0880 ext. 15