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Health Club Bill Stalls In Committee

A bill that would exempt private health clubs and gyms from property taxes has stalled in a committee.

Wednesday, a conference committee working on tax issues decided not to take up the health club measure.

Supporters of the bill, including health club owners, say they face competition from tax-free organizations like the YMCA and publicly owned health clubs. The controversial legislation prompted hundreds of emails about the issue to lawmakers.

The idea behind exempting private health clubs from property taxes is to put them on a level playing field with the tax-exempt clubs.

But Rep. Richard Carlson says he isn’t in favor of the idea. 

“I just don’t feel the proper way to do it, though, is to give a private, for-profit entity a tax exemption and not address the other side of the picture," he says.

"I think if we look at anything we should look at perhaps a sales tax being put back on YMCAs to make it a more level playing field. Something of that nature.”

Carlson says if they gave private health clubs a tax exemption, there could be lots of other industries clamoring for similar tax cuts. The legislation has passed the Senate but not the House. 

There likely isn't enough time in the session for the bill to advance any further.