Workout held at Freedom Plaza to protest DC fitness tax - FOX 35 News Orlando

Workout held at Freedom Plaza to protest DC fitness tax

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In just over a week, the D.C. Council will hold a second and final vote on next year’s budget. The budget is huge -- well over $10 billion. But about $5 million in that budget is causing people to be worked up over the potential cost of their workout.

Members from gyms, yoga studios, and CrossFit gyms came to Freedom Plaza on Monday to hold a protest right across the street from the Wilson Building. They are hoping to encourage enough council members to change the current budget and doing away with the fitness tax.

With yoga mats in hand, protesters picked a spot easy to be seen by the leaders working across Pennsylvania Avenue.

There was a little meditation, some good stretching and then an intense workout all to bring attention to wellness and a move to stop taxing gym, yoga, and wellness memberships.

“There are already enough people that think going to wellness centers and studios is too expensive, so this tax would make it even harder to spread the good word about yoga, fitness and health and all those things,” said yoga instructor Bella Girovich.

Councilmember David Catania was the only member to join the protest. He plans to offer an amendment to do away with the fitness tax.

“We want to encourage fitness,” he said. “We want to encourage wellness and we shouldn't make it more expensive, especially when we don't need to. This is not an era of tight revenue.”

Councilmember Jack Evans also has a plan to scrap it. But Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is against Catania and Evans’ plans saying D.C. residents are getting an income tax cut and he doesn't believe the fitness tax will deter wellness or hurt local businesses.

“We tax restaurants ten percent and we see that the restaurant business is booming,” said Mendelson.

But those fighting the fitness tax said there is a big difference between taxing luxuries and things that promote a healthier life.

Those who are working out to fight this tax said they will continue to do so until the council takes that second vote.

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