For three decades, Tennessee levied an unjust “amusement tax” on small gyms, including Tennessee’s 150+ CrossFit affiliates. No more, following extensive lobbying by CrossFit, Inc.
On April 15, 2019, Governor Bill Lee signed HB 1138 into law. HB 1138 exempts small gyms like CrossFit affiliates from the amusement tax. Most large-scale commercial gyms in the state were already exempt from this tax, which targeted only those small businesses operating outside the traditional globo-gym model.
Before HB 1138, to avoid the tax, gyms were required to:
- Have a full-time licensed medical professional on staff
- Be open at least 70 hours a week
- Have at least 15,000 square feet in use for physical fitness purposes
- Offer three or more of the following: racquetball, exercise equipment, track or swimming, aerobics, or health assessments using blood chemistry
As CrossFit affiliates know, a gym doesn’t need to meet these arbitrary “standards” to help people become fit and healthy. No 15,000-square-foot facilities, tracks, and racquetball courts are necessary for the consistent application of constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement; disciplined nutrition; and community support. Like the rest of the world, Tennessee suffers from the chronic disease epidemic—nearly one in seven adults in Tennessee has diabetes. CrossFit affiliates remain some of the only places where people are reversing and preventing these endemic conditions. No government of a sick community should restrict or burden this lifesaving work with undue regulation or taxation.
CrossFit, Inc. led the fight to repeal this tax, with lobbyist Brett Ewer advocating on behalf of the state’s CrossFit affiliates. But CrossFit’s lobbying was only successful because of the passion and drive of Tennessee’s CrossFit affiliates to push back against this arbitrary and unjust penalization of their business model. Thanks to their efforts, the small independent gyms and affiliates of Tennessee face fewer barriers and burdens as they work to fight sickness and promote health in their communities.
CrossFit, Inc. proactively monitors legislation introduced in states around the country. If your affiliate is facing regulatory or legislative pressure at the state level, please contact CrossFit’s lobbyist, Brett Ewer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.