I love July 4th, but I hate when it and other holidays cut into my exercise routine. Independence Day falling on Friday means my yoga class is canceled.
Yoga can be challenging, but I'm a big fan. It's a great way to break up the work day and relieve stress, especially at tax time.
I pay a monthly fee to the fitness club where I take classes. That allows me to use the equipment, as well as attend all the yoga, Pilates and water aerobics that I can find the energy for and fit into my schedule.
That monthly charge includes a hefty sales tax that goes to the city of Austin and state of Texas treasuries.
Welcome to my world, Washington, D.C., yogis.
The national capital's city council last month approved a new tax on fitness facilities. It was promptly dubbed the yoga tax and sent protesters into contortions they'd never be able to achieve on the mat.
Final approval June 24 of the city's $10.6 billion budget included a 9-4 vote to keep the yoga tax. Adding the city's 5.75 percent sales tax to gym memberships is part of a broad tax reform measure that also will provide District residents, particularly low- and middle-income D.C. dwellers, their biggest tax cut in more than a decade.
Ed Lazere, with the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, told CBS News that more Americans are now paying for services like exercise classes. He said 22 states include health clubs in their sales taxes.
Make that 22 plus one.
Base broadening to keep taxes low: "To keep the sales tax rate as low as possible while still generating the revenue that we need to pay for schools and public safety, the best thing is for it to apply as broadly as possible," Lazere said. "The idea that people will stop working out because they have to pay $3 a month more on their gym membership, it just doesn't make sense."
Lazere is right. The actual charge is minimal. It's estimated that most exercisers will pay $60 to $80 more a year.
It's the principle that's messing up the Zen of yoga students and other exercise enthusiasts.
"It seems to me that the things that should be taxed are the frivolous things," Ann Loreeman, a D.C. resident who owns a gym membership, told Washington's ABC affiliate WJLA. "I don't think health-related things should be taxed."
But come Jan. 1, 2015, they will be.
We'll see in a few months of D.C. residents will forgo their post-holiday workouts because of the new sales tax.
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