Odd Services Will Raise Nearly $50 Million

By: Beth Shayne Email
By: Beth Shayne Email

"The empress," Dawne Coe observes in her tarot cards, turning then each over one-by-one.

"The governor had a lot to do with it," she says of the budget process.

Reading tarot cards for guidance on such things will cost the new age taxpayer an extra 6 percent. It's one of many new age services, including psychic readings, phrenology, and fortune telling taxed under the new plan.

Coe, owner of the Triple Goddess New Age Bookstore, calls it a rush decision. She sees a burden for her business in the stars.

"This feels complicated and bulky," she says. "We are already paying and tipping and now we are going to get taxed."

Though the bulk of the new service tax will be raised by taxing consulting, office administration, janitorial services, and landscaping, the range of services is broad, and sometimes strange.

Across the service spectrum from astrology, the tanning world is angry too.

"The legislature is trying to cure its ills on the backs of small businesses," Sarah Munkacsy says. She questions why tanning, and not golf, for instance.

"We are not only gonna tax our customers-- That's going to hurt--but the services we use? We are going to have to pay taxes on," Munkacsy says.

Kitty Dowding, owner of Living Art Tattoo Parlor, is angry too. "They're still gonna get tattooed but they are not going to be happy about it--and I'm not either."

Also on the list are "coin-operated photographic materials services," also known as photo booths. Also, coin-operated personal services are taxed, like condoms and tampons.

Among the most strange? Singing telegrams.

"It'll affect the bottom line, but it doesn't take much to effect the bottom line of the short dwarf," Dandy Black laughs. You may recognize his company from the car with bumper stickers he drives around town. Monday, he has a musical message for the governor.

"When you take our pennies, we're blue," he sings, to the tune of the famous "We Love You Conrad."

In fact, he says the state will make squat off of his service. "Nowadays, we're doing maybe 3 a month."

He's joking too when he predicts it's impact on the economy with self-deprecating humor. "I'm not sure that this tax is going to be conducive to growth in the state of Michigan," he laughs--a jab at his small stature.

Other odd services include baby shoe bronzing, bail bonding, balloon-o-grams, and shoeshines.

All but tattoos and tanning are categorized as "other personal services" with an estimated revenue of $48.2 million. The total estimated revenue from the service tax for 2008 is $613.8 million.

Tattoos and tanning, as well as manicures, facials, massages, and non-medical diets fall under personal care. That category is estimated to raise $14.1 million.


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  • by Mike T Location: Jackson on Oct 3, 2007 at 02:46 AM
    Wow,more taxes! Maybe it's time we all just stay at home (for those who have homes),except for going to work and buying groceries. I think Michigan needs to do some better thinking on downsizing government staff, cutting government salaries first, before putting more of a burden on the everyday John Doe. I think many of these decisions on the tax situation are idiotic. The next thing you know our Governor will try to tax us on every breath we take.
  • by Duane Location: Jackson on Oct 2, 2007 at 02:04 PM
    To help get the state out of trouble the legislature needed to tax more luxury items like entertainment. If people have money to spend on sports teams, concerts etc. then they can afford a few extra dollars a year when those are not necessities. Rather Michigan has a higher or lower tax rate when compared to other states doesn't make a difference if people don't have jobs! I think our legislators needed to make some tougher decisions and they blew it! It's all about re-election!
  • by Tom Location: Holt on Oct 2, 2007 at 11:52 AM
    Our wonderful Governor needs to stop blaming the last administration and the Bush administration for all the state fiscal problems. She has spent the last six years pouring our tax dollars into the failing auto industry with no positive results. The UAW insists that these uneducated workers are entitled to the same pay as college graduates with multiple degrees. This is why an American auto costs double that of a foriegn car with only half the quality. The death of the industry was brought about by the greed of the unskilled work force and the thugs who rule their union.
  • by shirley Location: lansing on Oct 2, 2007 at 05:55 AM
    these things are nice but not nessary.many can not afford anyways.and thoes that really want them for what ever reason will complain but still get them.anyone can diet without the cost-just have strong will.I learned to do my own nails.tanning-the sun is still there and in the long run it causes wrinkles and dry skin ect.no matter how you get tan.facials-there's plenty of things one can do right at home that work great and cost little.tattoos-ones choice,and not nessary. these are things if you choose to do to your body so be it,just pay for it. I don't see this effecting these business because some people think they can't live without them.as most when you get older you see they didn't do that much for you.ageing is a process we can't avoid.
  • by Brian Location: Ann Arbor on Oct 2, 2007 at 05:53 AM
    The Psychics should have seen this coming!
  • by Pam Location: Jackson on Oct 2, 2007 at 04:26 AM
    How many of these services will people stop using when they realize that it the cost of these services have gone up 20-40% in the last 3 years. The michigan lawmakers has given small business a triple whammy with the minimum wage increase, a new business tax and sales tax on services.
  • by matt Location: monroe on Oct 1, 2007 at 11:08 PM
    Sounds like they wrote down what most people need and use as fast as they could think of them and said "lets tax them"
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