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New Jersey legislature ponders repeal of sales tax on elective cosmetic surgery

Trenton, N.J. — New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan is calling for a repeal of a tax bill — one that he originally sponsored — that levies a 6 percent sales tax on elective plastic-surgery procedures.

After 18 months on the books, the New Jersey tax has delivered $7.8 million to the state’s coffers — a substantially lower sum than the $25 million legislators estimated the tax would generate in its first year. Some observers say that far from benefiting the state, the tax had the effect of making cosmetic-surgery patients travel to nearby — and untaxed — New York or Philadelphia for surgery. This, in turn, has a potentially negative financial impact on local hospitals and plastic-surgery practices.

Nonetheless, an increasing number of states are considering a similar tax. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has proposed expanding the state sales tax to include elective cosmetic surgery. Washington and Illinois are among several other states considering similar measures.

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