D.C.

Yogis hold giant class in front of Wilson Building in protest of tax

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - A group of yoga enthusiasts took their passion outdoors in the intense heat Monday - to send a message.

Yoga, wellness enthusiasts held a giant class outside the Wilson Building Monday in protest of a proposed city tax. (Photos: Suzanne Kennedy/WJLA)

It was a relaxing way to protest a proposed tax that is stressing out many D.C. residents.

The group of roughly 60 yogis practiced their craft in a giant "class" outside the Wilson building at noon to call on the D.C. Council to vote down an idea to tax gym memberships and fitness classes.

Matty Maccarro, 65, was one of dozens who suffered in Monday's mid-day heat to send a message.

"We hear this everyday - 'eat well and exercise,'" she said. "Well, I put my money where my mouth is, and I don't want to be taxed because of that."

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson proposed the 5.7-percent tax rate last month. Since then, demonstrations like this one have been taking place.

Councilmember and mayoral candidate David Catania has come up with a possible compromise.

"It permits us to go forward with a tax relief for the businesses that the chairman has recommended," Catania explained. "The implementation would be over a six-year period, and by doing that, we would not have to go forward with the tax on fitness."

Gym owners say the tax will hurt their bottom line, and could even put them out of business.

Wellness enthusiasts say it just doesn't make sense.

"I feel like you want to incentivize people to stay healthy and stay fit, and charging them extra to do that seems kind of backwards," Maccarro added.

Catania's new proposal that could help avoid the yoga tax will be considered next Tuesday, when the council has a second reading on the controversial tax.

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