DC Council Set to Vote on “Yoga Tax”

As was mentioned in a recent Consumers’ Research article, the Washington DC council has proposed instituting a sales tax on yoga classes and gym memberships throughout the city. Dubbed the “yoga tax”, this measure has faced large amounts of criticism from DC’s resident, as fitness is highly valued in DC.  Therefore, it comes as no surprise that residents have been taking to the street to protest this movement. In fact, according to the Wall St. Journal, a recent protest drew over 100 DC residents to practice yoga in close proximity to the Washington DC city council’s offices.  According to the article:

Washington’s government, whose John A. Wilson Building is a stone’s throw from the popular protest spot, is trying to expand its sales tax to include services such as yoga instruction and gym memberships. In response, yoga aficionados have united with gym owners, CrossFit trainers, cycling instructors and acupuncturists to unleash a no-holds-barred lobbying barrage…

The 5.75% levy, variously known as the “Yoga Tax,” the “Gym Tax” or, as fitness activists prefer, the “Wellness Tax,” is one component of a larger budget package likely up for a vote before the 13-member council on Tuesday.

Proponents say the sales tax, a more stable source of revenue for the city than income taxes, needs to be broadened to cover a range of services, from carwashes to tanning salons, to better capture where residents spend their money. The package would also cut the city’s income tax, which they contend would more than offset the added cost of taxing yoga classes.

As can be seen, there are both proponents for and against this tax. With the Washington DC council set to vote on this measure later today (June 24th), only time can tell what the outcome will be. However, if the measure does pass, the Wall St. Journal, and others, expect that the opponents of this tax will continue to look for ways to get this measure reversed. Consumers’ Research will continue to monitor developments related to this proposed tax.

Read More- “Washington Plan to Tax Yoga Leads to Political Posturing: Fans Inflexible When It Comes to Health Levy; ‘Up-Dog, Breathe In'” (Michelle Hackman, The Wall Street Journal)

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A rising senior at Colgate University, John is currently working as a research fellow with Consumers' Research.

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