The D.C. Council-proposed 5.75 percent sales tax to gyms, as well as other businesses, is not going over well with business owners and fitness fanatics. In addition to health clubs and gyms, the tax would also affect yoga studios and tanning salons.
This increase in membership fees is not welcome news to consumers who already shell out a pretty penny to stay in shape.
“Given the declining health of our nation, we at Crunch Fitness believe people should be rewarded for engaging in preventative health care, not discouraged by new taxes,” the gym chain stated, according to The Washington Post.
Betsy Poos, co-owner of Capitol Hill Yoga, agreed.
“This feels like a tax on healthy lifestyles,” she said in an interview with CQ Roll Call. Although she admitted the tax would probably not affect her current students, it could deter new people from coming in and signing up for a class—a population her business is reliant upon. “In the past five months, 25 percent of our sales revenue [has] come from consumers brand new to our studio—first-time walk-ins,” she continued.
Consumers and business owners are fighting back by not only agreeing to an number of interviews with the press to share their opinions, but by asking people to sign an online petition. But D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has remained adamant about his support for the tax.
“I don’t think the council’s going to change it,” Mendelson said on WAMU-FM’s Politics Hour. “At the rate of 5.75 percent, I don’t know any … experts in the field who say that affects behavior. … We already taxed sugary beverages and candy, and we don’t see a reduction in the consumption of those.”
A final vote regarding the tax increase will be held on June 17.
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