Fitness enthusiasts perform burpees to protest the yoga tax on June 3

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Today’s D.C. Council vote brings bad news for the District’s meatheads, who are about to find getting ripped more expensive (although not by that much). The so-called “yoga tax” on gyms and yoga studios survived Council consideration of Chairman Phil Mendelson‘s Budget Support Act, as councilmembers shot down an attempt from mayoral hopeful David Catania to get rid of the proposed measure.

The amendment to remove the 5.75 percent sales tax went down 9-4, garnering votes in support from Catania, Ward 4 councilmember and mayoral rival Muriel Bowser, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans.

Catania, backed by yellow-shirted crowds in the chamber who were against the tax, argued that the tax would discourage fitness. Catania’s speech in favor of the amendment earned so much support from tax opponents in the chamber that Mendelson had to use his gavel to quiet them down.

Mendelson, who has said that Catania’s amendment was just a ploy to help his mayoral chances, pointed out that the District’s sales tax also applies to other generally positive things, like books.

“That does not mean as a matter of policy that we’re opposed to people reading,” Mendelson said.

Debate over the amendment also provided other councilmembers the chance to push their pet issues. Evans said that he had spent his career attempting to keep the District from being a joke, only for the tax to once again make the city a late-night punchline. Graham told Evans that the Ward 2 councilmember didn’t seem as exercised about stopping cuts to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families when that came before the Council, while the recently slimmed-down Vincent Orange brandished his Washington Sports Club membership card, then voted against the amendment.

Photo by Perry Stein

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