Stephen Ross, chairman of both Related Companies and its subsidiary, Equinox Fitness, wants his high-paying gym rats to engage in some low-impact brain exercise.
Equinox COO Scott Rosen has sent an email to Equinox members asking them to write the state Legislature and express their opposition to a proposed sales tax on health club services:
As you may be aware, Governor Paterson and the New York Legislature are considering imposing a sales tax on health club dues and services (including personal training) to make up for New York State’s budget deficit.
We don’t believe taxing health club dues is the route to take to remedy the situation. Fitness is essential to overall public health. And Governor Patterson [sic] agrees.
Governor Paterson has talked extensively about the medical and economic importance of healthy lifestyles and is proposing an "obesity tax" on non-diet, sugary sodas and advocating a "Healthier New York". Therefore a tax on health clubs is directly in opposition to this goal. The State should be encouraging, not discouraging, memberships to health clubs to stem the obesity epidemic and promote good health.
As an Equinox member, we know how important fitness is to you to lead a healthy, balanced life. And to support overall wellness, Equinox is taking an active role in opposing this tax.
Here’s how you can help – visit HealthClubs.com today to quickly and easily tell your lawmakers to oppose this proposed tax.
Thanks in advance for participating. I will update you as the details unfold.
In good health,
Chief Operating Officer
HealthClubs.com, the Web site for the The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, takes visitors to a page from which they can send letters to their representatives. The Association offers potential letter-writers some fodder for their missives, including the claim that gym-goers "could be forced to pay 4% more for your membership dues and services as Governor Paterson tries to close the $15 billion budget deficit."
But first — perhaps fearful that gym-goers may be nothing more than vacuous muscle-bound meatheads — the Association gives visitors some helpful writing tips: