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D.C. eyes 'fitness tax'

Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 06/11/2014 @ 12:33 pm In Front Page,Health,Money,U.S. | No Comments

(ROLL CALL) — Betsy Poos tries to keep politics out of the classroom at Capitol Hill Yoga.

The co-owner of the Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast studio spent a decade working for members of Congress and the Democratic Party before opening, in March 2009, the small business that sits six blocks from the Capitol. When teaching, her classroom philosophy is: “This is the time to let your day job go.”

But a tax change working its way through the D.C. Council has recently caused Poos to “measure the line” on her credos. The city is looking at implementing a 5.75 percent sales tax on gyms, yoga studios and other health club services as part of its fiscal 2015 budget, part of an effort to revise its tax structure and reduce the overall burden on D.C. residents. Poos and other wellness practitioners are worried the proposal will hurt their industry.

“This feels like a tax on healthy lifestyles,” Poos said Monday in an interview with CQ Roll Call, explaining recent efforts to mobilize yogis to push back on the proposal. Although she doesn’t believe the price increase — an extra 69 cents on a $12 class that lasts an hour, or $1.04 more for the 75- to 90-minute classes that currently cost $18 — would keep most of her current customers away from their mats, Poos is concerned the modest increase could deter the new students that are a key part of the studio’s revenues.


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