CEO to Pay D.C. “Yoga Tax” for Anacostia Gyms

Duane Gautier says the "Yoga Tax" shouldn't deter people from opening gyms in Anacostia

The CEO of a nonprofit that uses art to bring small businesses to Anacostia says he isn't going to let the controversial "yoga tax" stop fitness centers from opening in the area.

"I'll pay it," Duane Gautier said via Twitter.

Gautier and Arch Development Corporation (ADC) have announced that "for any fitness studio that opens in Anacostia Arch Development will pay the D.C. yoga tax for member classes."

He says he doesn't want people to "use the yoga tax as an argument not to open a full-service gym in Anacostia."

The D.C. nonprofit is a small, neighborhood-based organization that focuses on the economic regeneration of Anacostia, in the city's poorest ward.

ADC's projects include the Honfleur Gallery, Blank Space, The HIVE and The Gallery at Vivid Solutions.

The "yoga tax" has been a hot-button issue since its approval in late May. On June 24 the D.C. Council voted 9-4 to keep the tax in its $10.6 billion budget despite an amendment to eliminate the tax.

Councilmember David Catania, an independent who's running for mayor, is among those who opposed the nearly 6 percent sales tax, pledging to appeal the tax if he is elected mayor.

Mayor Vincent Gray was also against the new tax. But plenty of councilmembers supported it.

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

The budget also includes a substantial income tax cut, among other changes to the District's tax code. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has defended the plan, saying the overall tax burden for District of Columbia residents will decrease.

NBC4 is waiting for a comment from Gautier.

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