Most people understand that exercise is a good thing. Most people also understand that a good way to discourage people from engaging in an activity is to tax it. So therefore, one would think that elected officials would be reluctant to tax exercise... right?
WRONG, at least in the nation's capital. The Washington, DC city council's new budget subjects gyms, tanning salons, and yoga clubs to DC's sales tax. In an all-too-rare show of resistance to the tax man, a group of DC residents protested the proposed increase by exercising in front of a DC City Building.
The new tax will add approximately $10 to the average DC resident's gym bill. As fitness club owner and protest organizer Graham King, pointed out, this tax will affect low-income DC residents who might not be able to afford the additional $120 this tax will add to their gym fees.
Exercise is not the only recreational activity being hit by new taxes in DC. The City Council is also raising taxes on pipe tobacco and “premium cigars." This tax increase is not likely to gain new revenue for the city, as many are predicting it will drive DC's tobacco stores out of business. The new tax is good news for one group... owners and employees of tobacco stores in Virginia who are about to get a bunch of new customers from DC.
Some City Council members claim the tax increases are necessary to "pay for" future cuts in DC's income tax. Perhaps instead of raising taxes, the DC City Council should consider cuts in the city's bloated budget.