WASHINGTON — Despite opposition from operators of health clubs and personal trainers, the D.C. Council approved a plan on Tuesday that would extend the city’s sale tax to gym memberships, dance and yoga classes and personal training. Hours later, the D.C. mayor’s office spoke out against the tax, citing the District’s “serious problem with obesity.” Pedro Ribeiro, a spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray, says “every option remains on the table,” and the mayor has not yet decided whether he’ll sign the bill. Supporters of the plan, including Councilwoman Mary Cheh, point out that the tax is part of a restructuring plan intended to broaden the tax base and lower residents’ tax rates. Cheh bridled at opponents branding the tax a “yoga tax” or a “wellness tax.” “We apply a sales tax to your yoga mat is that a yoga tax? We apply the sales tax to your running shoes, my running shoes, and other sporting equipment, is that a tax of wellness?” Cheh argued. Tax opponents believe the tax will add $60 to $80 a year to fitness club memberships in the city.
Tax on yoga pants may not be a tax on wellness.