Is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie about to make his state safer (or at least cheaper) for Botox fans Joan Rivers and Kim Kardashian? A press aide said late Wednesday that the outspoken Republican governor hasn’t yet indicated whether he’ll sign or veto a bill repealing the state’s first-in-the-nation tax on cosmetic medical procedures—popularly known as the Botox Tax, or BoTax, after Allergan’s blockbuster anti-wrinkle treatment.
Christie has until next Tuesday to decide what to do with the repeal bill, which cleared the state’s Assembly unanimously and the state’s Senate by 33-2 on Monday, during the last hours of New Jersey’s 2011 legislative session. A 2006 repeal was vetoed by Christie’s Democratic predecessor—billionaire Jon Corzine, the now embattled ex-CEO of bankrupt brokerage firm MF Global. The tax-happy Corzine also signed a 2006 expansion of New Jersey’s sales tax to cover a variety of services, including tanning, tattooing and massages (except where provided with a doctor’s prescription.)
The just-passed bill, S1988, would phase out New Jersey’s 6% tax on the gross receipts from cosmetic medical procedures in three stages, dropping it to 4% percent on March 1, 2012, to 2% on July 1, 2012, and to zero on July 1, 2013. The tax is now raising $10.8 million a year dedicated to a special state fund that pays for medical care for the poor. That’s less than half the $24 million a year it was projected to raise when the state adopted it in 2004.
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