Memphis City Council members support end to gym tax bill

Memphis City Council members support end to gym tax bill

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis City Council members are supporting to end a gym tax bill.

Tuesday afternoon, several city council members threw their support behind ending what some gym owners call an unnecessary tax – an added tax called the amusement tax.

In a time when there're a nationwide push to be fit and healthy, some gym owners and members are not amused by the 10 percent fee lumped on to memberships.

“It didn’t make any sense to me why we would be taxing especially the smaller guys,” said councilmember J. Ford Canale.

The law that made going to the gym more expensive has been on the books for three decades, but it is not applied equally.

Tennessee’s amusement tax targets smaller health clubs and fitness centers, taxing them an additional 10 percent sales tax.

“One of the reasons we tax is to disincentives and this is a behavior that we certainly don't want to disincentives, if at all possible,” said councilmember Worth Morgan.

House Bill 5, Senate Bill 8 introduced this month hopes to put an end to the fitness tax.

On Tuesday, Canale proposed a resolution in a committee meeting to back those lawmakers' fight.

“I wholeheartedly support the repeal of the tax on these people,” Canale said.

However, Morgan expressed concern after learning that tax brought in close to $1.8 million to the City of Memphis and about $8 million to Shelby County, money he said goes into the city’s general fund.

“And that's not insignificant,” Morgan said. “At some point as the hall tax is repealed, if this tax were repealed that's revenue lost to the city that's not being replaced.”

These bills are still in the infancy stage and were officially introduced last week.

We’ll keep you posted on what happens during the legislative session.

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