A new budget plan that would add 5.75 percent sales tax to fitness centers including yoga studios in Washington D.C. was approved Monday despite veto efforts from Mayor Vincent Gray.
Gray vetoed the $12.64-billion spending plan on July 11, but that didn’t hold against the D.C. Council who voted for the new plan 12-1. Gray, who’s in lame duck pose, expressed his disappointment in a statement saying that the council “did not see fit to work with me to craft a reasonable compromise that serves the best interest of District residents.” Perhaps he was referring to the yoga and fitness folks, not only those who offer the services but those who will now have to pay a bit more to use them.
While the spending plan seems to have (eventually) been approved with flying colors, there’s been a grand swell of opposition from the yoga community as well as gym owners who took to social media and Change.org to stop the bill from passing. Even Yoga Alliance joined in the opposition, citing the longterm costs of making yoga more cost prohibitive and less accessible to everyone, and pointing out that other services like construction firms, beauty salons, and spas located in corporate-owned hotels, as well as other health care services are exempt.
Taxing yoga = taxing essential healthcare. Washington, D.C. does not tax essential health care services — like doctor visits, medications and medical procedures. It should similarly exempt essential preventative health care services — like yoga and fitness — that keep people healthy in the first place.
The bill also put the kibosh on a proposed streetcar system, but left in place special permission for District breweries to, for the first time, allow customers to purchase and drink beer while visiting their facilities. So how do you deal with rising costs of yoga and easier access to local beer? Why, brewery yoga, of course! See? Problem solved.