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Misguided D.C. bureaucrats to levy new tax on gym memberships and yoga studios; 'punishing healthy lifestyles'

Gym tax

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(NaturalNews) As the price of medical care and health insurance skyrockets, and with mandated health insurance taxes looming, many people are looking to implement healthy lifestyles to prevent sickness and disease. Yoga is growing in popularity, providing positive health benefits that instill good breathing patterns, reduced stress levels, greater flexibility and endurance.

With more people exploring yoga techniques, D.C. bureaucrats are busy eying the growing market surrounding this healthy lifestyle practice, as they prepare to sabotage and tax it.

In fact, the D.C. Council is looking to implement a 5.75 percent sales tax on transactions at yoga studios and gyms. Betsy Poos, co-owner of Capitol Hill Yoga, is taken aback by the new measures, which are part of the city's 2015 fiscal budget.

"This feels like a tax on healthy lifestyles," Poos said Monday in an interview with CQ Roll Call.

While the price increases are relatively small for yoga classes, about a dollar more for an $18 class, the underlying principle is at stake. Government is expanding its reckless spending behavior at the expense of healthy, productive people. This may inadvertently discourage people from learning yoga or even caring about their health, as government stands in the way to capitalize. Those struggling to pay for a $100/month gym membership likely won't sign up if the membership costs $50 or $60 more annually.

New yoga taxes projected to deter new customers

Poos is already concerned that the new tax could deter new students from her yoga studio. "In the past five months, 25 percent of our sales revenue have come from consumers brand new to our studio -- first-time walk-ins," Poos said. If "even 10 percent" of new customers shy away thanks to the new tax prices, "we stand to lose much of our overall profit margin."

How low can big government go?

If intrusive measures like this are not stopped, how far will bureaucrats go to siphon money from the free market? How much longer will it take for bureaucrats to implement bamboozling schemes like sidewalk tolls that punish people for the healthy lifestyle choice of walking or running? If deep breathing and lifting weights can be taxed, so can walking.

Others in the fitness industry are also concerned. Capitol Hill's Biker Barre and local CrossFit trainers have voiced their opposition, as has the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals, or CHAMPS.

Writing to the Hill's small business community on June 4, CHAMPS President Scott Magnuson stated, "Once again the D.C. Council has let down small businesses in DC." Magnuson criticized the council's abrupt actions, saying that they "do not build confidence in an already fragile relationship between the District government and small business leaders."

"If a doctor prescribes you a pill, there's no sales tax," said Ian Mishalove, co-owner of Flow Yoga Center in Northwest D.C. "If the doctor prescribes you yoga, there's a tax."

Insidious new taxes also target bowling, car washes and water delivery

The abrupt and corrupt budget proposal was initiated by D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who stands in support of the new gym tax as part of new individual income tax revisions. Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams also backs the measure, which also goes after small businesses and services like carpet cleaning, billiards, bowling, car washes and water delivery. These taxes will make transactions like those of car washes less efficient. Imagine having to dig out extra pocket change each time to play pool or bowl, or insert an extra dime for that car wash.

D.C. councilman pretends to be about "fairness"

A Change.org petition took off in opposition to the new D.C. tax codes. Mendelsen pretended that the new taxes are about fairness.

"The goal of the [D.C. Tax Revision Commission] was to recommend an overall tax structure that is fair, equitable and reduces the overall burden on District residents," Mendelson said after being confronted with the petition.

How is it fair when authoritarians like Mendelson get to sit back in their office at the expense of productive and healthy people who are trying to make an honest living in a tough economy?

In protest, physically active residents of the D.C. area are planning to get politically active on the issue, meeting with wellness leaders and planning a day of action at D.C.'s Freedom Plaza.

Betsy Poos said, "Word is starting to get out."

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