New bill aims to end fitness tax

New bill aims to end fitness tax

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee gyms are rallying together to oppose a relatively new tax that they say is unfair and unnecessary.

Brooks Meadows is the founder of Recess gym in Midtown Memphis.

He is a former teacher whose dream is to teach adults that exercise can be fun and not a chore.

"To show them that exercise didn't have to be hard work, that it can be a lot of fun and achieving your health can actually be very easy," said Meadows.

However, a state tax is getting in the way of his dream.

"The tax really disincentivizes people from joining gyms," said Meadows.

Under Tennessee's amusement tax, health clubs and fitness centers are taxed an additional 10 percent sales tax. It applies to everything from gym memberships to classes.

Meadows thinks Tennessee should be encouraging people to go the gym, not punishing them.

"Right now, Tennessee is number 4 in the nation in obesity with I believe nearly 33 percent of Tennesseeans being clinically obese that's one in three," said Meadows.

He also thinks the law unfairly targets smaller gyms. Written into the law is an exemption for businesses more than 15 thousand square feet.

"It has particularly impacted smaller gyms because most gyms do not qualify as the over 15,000 square feet," said Meadows.

Gym owners from all over the state have organized against the tax with the website, tossthetax.com.

A new law proposed this month in the state legislature would remove health clubs and fitness center from the amusement tax.

Meadows said that would make it less expensive for Tennesseans to focus on their health.

"On behalf of all Tennesseeans, it would be in our best interest to toss this tax right away. Anything that creates a barrier for people to invest in their health costs Tennessee in the long run," said Meadows.

If the bill passes, it would go into affect this summer.

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