Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee to propose repealing ‘gym tax’ in 2019 budget


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee says he will repeal the state’s “gym tax” in his upcoming budget proposal.

The state imposes a nearly 10 percent amusement tax on memberships to gyms, fitness centers and health clubs. It’s been on the books since the mid-1980s and represents about $10 million in state revenue.

However, Lee says the tax discourages Tennesseans from developing healthy habits.

Related storyKnoxville state lawmakers take aim at sales tax on fitness centers

“Unfortunately, we’ve discouraged Tennesseans from investing in their health and wellness by taxing their efforts,” said Lee. “The skyrocketing costs of health care and Tennessee’s high rates of obesity and diabetes means we simply cannot afford to discourage healthy habits.” 

The Tennessee Department of Health says the state ranks 40th in the nation for physical activity and 35th for adult obesity. TDH estimates show illnesses related to diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease cost the state more than $5.3 billion a year both directly and indirectly.

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