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Health Club Bill Stalls in Kansas Statehouse Committee

Stephen Koranda
Kansas Public Radio

A bill that would exempt private health clubs and gyms from property taxes Kansas has stalled in a committee. The measure has prompted hundreds of emails to lawmakers about the issue.

The 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 idea behind exempting private health clubs from property taxes is to put them on a level playing field with the tax-exempt clubs. But Representative Richard Carlson says he isn’t in favor of the idea. The Republican from St. Marys is the top House member on the tax conference committee.

“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,” says Carlson. “ 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, not necessarily that.”

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 probably is not enough time left in the session for the bill to advance any farther.

As the Kansas News Service managing editor, I help our statewide team of reporters find the important issues and breaking news that impact people statewide. We refine our daily stories to illustrate the issues and events that affect the health, well-being and economic stability of the people of Kansas. Email me at skoranda@kcur.org.
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