Tax Deductible Gym Fees

Tuesday, February 13th 2007, 10:53 am
By: News On 6

If you're having trouble sticking with that New Year's resolution to exercise, you may soon have a new incentive to hit the gym. State Senator Mike Mazzei of Tulsa wants to put money in your pocket to work out. News on 6 reporter Steve Berg reports Mazzei’s got a bill that would give tax credits up to 20 percent of your gym fees.

Mazzei says he wants to reward the people who workout at the gym, he says it’s better to pay for a membership than pay for an emergency room.

Erik Toney says he joined the gym because he had been feeling sluggish.

"It helps me keep up with my kids, but in addition to that, it just makes me feel better about myself," he said.

Here's something that might make him feel even better, of the $800 he paid for his 3-year-membership he could get $160 back in tax credits.

"Every little bit back into our pockets definitely benefits everybody," Toney said.

Senator Mike Mazzei of Tulsa says he got the idea from a constituent who said we pour millions of tax dollars in hospital care. So, why not spend money on exercise, which might solve the problem before it starts.

"Our number one health problem is really poor cardiovascular condition for lots and lots of Oklahoma residents,” Senator Mazzei said. “So the idea behind Senate bill 118 is to really start rewarding good behavior."

Platinum Fitness owner Jim Parham says it's an idea that a lot of businesses have already caught onto.

"A person who is less stressful on the job is more productive, as well as offer less sick days. It's better for the companies," he said.

Art McGrew says he doesn't do it for the money.

"It's worth more to them to preserve their life than it is monetary," said the fitness club member.

And then of course, there's Mrs. McGrew.

"I'm his best incentive. I've been doing it for a long time," she said.

The bill still has a long way to go before it becomes law. But keep exercising, and we’ll keep you posted on the progress of the bill.