More than 600 members of Congress and their key staffers enjoyed haircuts, mini-manicures, makeup applications and hand and neck massages, as they learned about the professional beauty industry during the Professional Beauty Federation's (PBF) 10th Annual Welcome to Our World event. On Capitol Hill, Welcome to our World has become one of the most popular events because of the unique way it combines learning with fun and rewarding services for all.

Welcome to Our World volunteers gather before their 600-plus guests arrive to enjoy mini salon services and learn about the professional salon industry.

Two issues of immediate importance to the professional beauty industry are fairness in taxation and access to cosmetology education. H.R. 3724, the Small Business Tax Equalization and Compliance Act, would make it possible for salon owners to claim a tax credit for the FICA taxes they must now pay on their employees' tips, a benefit that restaurant owners already receive. The legislation will also improve income reporting within the industry.

In regard to education, the PBF supports recent Congressional efforts to promote and expand access to postsecondary education and enhance students' ability to choose the type of educational program that best meets their own individual, professional career and employment goals. In a $60 billion a year industry where job market demand for qualified applicants exceeds supply by more than three-to-one, it is vitally important to the PBF that Congress preserve a student's ability to enroll in cosmetology institutions of higher education, receive the benefits of a quality postsecondary education, and are prepared to enter the ranks of our professional workforce.

"This important event brings an entire $60 billion industry to Capitol Hill in just one day," explains Eric Schwartz, president of the PBF. "It provides the perfect forum for our legislation to learn about important small-business and education issues that affect millions of their constituents, while they enjoy the services that are performed by 1.6 million licensed professionals hundreds of times a day in hundreds of salons in each of their districts."

Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (center), representing Nevada's 1st district, and the sponsor of H.R. 3724, the Small Business Tax Equalization and Compliance Act, with the International Salon/Spa Business Network's President Gordon Logan, founder of SportClips, and the Professional Beauty Association's Government Affairs chairman Frank Zona of Zona Salons.

Liz Rodels of Andre Chreky, the salon spa, touches up congresswoman Barsha Blackburn (Tennessee's 7th district) with Mirabella Cosmetics.

Congressman Henry Brown, representing South Carolina's 1st district, receives a mini-manicure from OPI's Loreeta Richer while discussing indstry issues with Professional Beauty Federation's President Eric Schwartz, COO or OPI.

John Halal, president of the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, cut hair at Welcome to Our World, while discussing education issues.

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