TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden, Burlington) that would exempt sales tax for certain cosmetic services that are performed in conjunction with reconstructive breast surgery cleared the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today.
At the final stage of breast reconstruction surgery, women often decide to use permanent cosmetic make-up to create the appearance of a pre-mastectomy breast. Under current law, these procedures are subject to sales tax. This bill, S-374, would expand the exemption to permanent cosmetic make-up applications, when it is called for by a physician. Current law exempts certain massages, bodywork or other services, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription. It also ends the loophole under which insurance companies are not covering sales tax charged for these types of procedures, therefore leaving it to the patients to pay the taxes out-of-pocket.
The bill is named after Jennifer Dubrow Weiss, a Voorhees advocate, who had a double mastectomy after it was discovered that she had a high risk for getting breast cancer. She lost her mother to breast cancer at a young age and after a series of tests, it was discovered that she had a high risk of being diagnosed with the disease. According to the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, the first gene associated with breast cancer was identified in 1994 and a year later, a second gene was discovered. Children of parents with these two genes have a fifty percent chance of inheriting the genes.
“The decision to have a radical mastectomy and the subsequent reconstructive surgery – whether it is the result of breast cancer or a preventive measure – is a physically and emotionally painful experience. The last thing that we should be doing is making the road to recovery subject to sales tax,” said Beach.
The legislation passed the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by a vote of 7-0.