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Private health clubs get property tax exemption under Senate amendment

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Some Senate Republicans did some heavy lifting on Friday for private gyms by voting to give them a property tax exemption.

State Sen. Jeff Melcher, R-Leawood, said it was unfair that for-profit private health clubs paid property taxes, while non-profit YMCAs and YWCAs were exempt from those taxes.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka, however, said the YMCAs and YWCAs do public service work, while private health clubs don't.

Hensley handed out information that showed many supporters of Melcher's amendment received campaign donations from the owner of Genesis Health Clubs.

"The people who write the checks, end up writing the laws," Hensley said.

Melcher responded, saying, "It's a shame a taxpayer has to expend so many resources to get tax fairness." His amendment giving private health clubs a property tax exemption was approved 21-17. The underlying bill dealt with a long-running dispute over taxes paid by a concrete company.

State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, tried to exempt Douglas County from the amendment, saying that there were no YMCAs or YWCAs in the county. "I'm not going to let foolish special-interest tax policy unfairly shift the tax burden onto other commercial and residential property owners in my district," he said. But his amendment was rejected.

Comments

Bob Forer 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Proof positive that we have the best democracy money can buy.

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Phillip Chappuie 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Now here we have a prime example of the cronyism that is called Topeka. I think they should add an amendment to make me tax exempt. Just because.

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Dave Trabert 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Exempting health clubs is bad public policy. Senator Hensley cited this in his opposition to the amendment http://bit.ly/1lzpkHc

1

James Howlette 5 months, 2 weeks ago

What do you know? A broken clock is still right twice a day.

Guess the Kochs don't own any health clubs.

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Bob Forer 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Bad public policy?

Allowing the wealthy to steal our democracy with their money certainly is, at the very minimum, "bad public policy." Unfortunately, it's much more insidious than your garden variety example of inept policy making. It goes far beyond that. It threatens our very being as Americans.

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James Howlette 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Brownie will line item veto this one as a campaign strategy.

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Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Taxpayers need to pay attention. There are new tax increases in the state tax codes directed at low income and middle class and upper middle class.

"State Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, tried to exempt Douglas County from the amendment, saying that there were no YMCAs or YWCAs in the county. "I'm not going to let foolish special-interest tax policy unfairly shift the tax burden onto other commercial and residential property owners in my district," he said. But his amendment was rejected."

Sen Tom Holland is right on the money. I would suspect voters would like to hear from Tom Holland and others exactly how the new tax codes become tax increases. Food Sales Tax as a return has been nullified = tax increase. I believe home mortgage interest as a tax deduction has be revised = tax increase. The unethical back door activity of the Brownback administration is stinky.

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Richard Heckler 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I say it is due time to remove all tax exemptions regarding campaign donations across the board.

4

Bob Forer 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The itemized deduction for political contriubtions was repealed many years ago. They are no longer deductible like charitable contributions.

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Melinda Black 5 months, 2 weeks ago

The amendment was influenced by Rodney Steven II, owner of Wichita-based Genesis Health Clubs. He and his business contributed $45,000 to senators and Senate candidates.

I will be taking my health club business elsewhere.

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Bob Forer 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Taking one's business elsewhere is a start. But it certainly is not a solution. The overriding problem is that we cannot take our democracy elsewhere, as it has already been stolen from us by the wealthy.

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Thomas Bryce 5 months, 2 weeks ago

So,when are all the clothing stores going to get their tax cut because Goodwill and Salvation Army Are competing with them? Of Course that sounds crazy. It Is! How can this Tax exemption, specifically issued to a private company that says it is competing with Non-Profits and that is hurting Their business, be constitutional? I know it only covers State Property Taxes, but how can this be? Does the Private Business owner Now have a right to Demand that the State must help their business become Profitable? I had no idea that private businesses had The God -Given Right to survive and Prosper! So much for "Free Market". If a business says it cannot survive without this Kind of Legislation, what does that say about the Business and/or its owner?

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Bob Reinsch 5 months, 2 weeks ago

It sure would be nice if Lawrence had a YMCA or YWCA to compete with the for-profit gyms in Lawrence that have few-to-zero youth programs. Granted, the LPR does a pretty good job, but more gym space would be a tremendous boon to the community.

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