"Burpees" for Change at Wilson Building in D.C.

Opposers of the new D.C. service tax gathered Tuesday to protest the taxation of fitness centers.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Protestors of the new D.C. service tax do "burpees" outside the Wilson building in D.C.

    Around a dozen protesters met today at the Wilson building in D.C. to protest the District's new service tax. But instead of picketing with signs and slogans, the group protested using their bodies.

    Eight protesters formed a line in front of the building's main staircase and performed eight "burpees," a push-up like exercise, one for each ward of the District.

    Personal Trainers Protest DC's New Gym Tax

    [DC] Personal Trainers Protest DC's New Gym Tax
    Personal trainers and yoga instructors took part in an unusual protest outside in downtown D.C. Tuesday. They did eight "burpees" -- one for each ward in the District. They are upset over a new sales tax on gym memberships and other fitness services. As News4's Tom Sherwood reports, some District leaders say the tax could actually save people money. (Published Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014)

    In their final report, the D.C. Tax Revision Commission said expanding the sales tax to eight services in the District could generate over $28 million in its first year. Of those eight recommendations, the Council chose six.

    The following services will be subject to the new tax starting Jan. 1, 2015:

    • Health clubs
    • Water delivery services
    • Storage lockers
    • Carpet cleaning
    • Car washes
    • Bowling and billiards

    According to The Washington Post, the Council rejected extending the sales tax to beauty salons and construction firms.

    Graham King of Roam Fitness in D.C. organized the protest using a Facebook event page, although far fewer than the event's 34 attendees made it to the protest. Despite the small turnout, the group was in good spirits.

    They concluded the event by yelling "don't tax fitness!"

    D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson says he doesn't expect the council to scale back or undo a proposal to apply sales taxes to yoga classes and gym memberships.

    Mendelson said Monday that the tax increase is part of a package of reforms that will reduce the tax burden of the average District of Columbia resident. He says the yoga and gym tax is "insignificant'' compared to the hundreds of dollars in savings that residents will see on their tax bills over the next few years.

    "This is not about raising money," he said Tuesday.

    The Democrat adds that the council would have to find another source of revenue if it scraps the yoga and gym tax.

    Chad Raymond, a personal trainer at Crunch gym, says the tax will discourage people from getting in shape.

    "I feel like people do not need another excuse to not get in to the gym," he said.

    D.C. Council Finance Committee Chairman Jack Evans said the city can do without the yoga taxes.

    "The city doesn't need money. We have lots of money. We're producing record surpluses," he said.

     

     

    Erica Jones contributed to this report.