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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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Politics

Congress wants to give you a tax break to exercise

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Ray Bogan

Political Correspondent

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There is a bipartisan effort in Congress to give people a tax break as an incentive to stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. The PHIT Act would allow Americans to use pre-tax money in a health savings account or flexible spending account to pay for gym memberships, personal trainers, or workout equipment to use at home.

“With families tightening their belts, gyms, youth sports leagues, and other exercise classes have become less and less affordable and accessible,” Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., said in a statement. “An active lifestyle is the best preventative medicine, and by encouraging these habits we can promote healthier communities.”

If the bill passes, there would be a $1,000 annual limit for individuals and $2,000 limit for married couples.

The bill’s sponsors cited research that showed people who exercise during middle age can save $1,500 a year or more on health care expenses after they retire.

“Unfortunately, despite exercise’s significant health and even financial benefits, a lot of American adults — and children — either don’t exercise at all or don’t get enough exercise. There are a number of reasons for that, of course, but one disincentive to exercising can be the cost of some exercise equipment and programs,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said. 

Families could use the money to pay for youth sports registration and the equipment needed to play. But there are limits to make sure this isn’t abused. It couldn’t be used to pay for a golf or sailing club membership, and it won’t cover that new putter. There’s also a $250 limit per item for equipment — so it’s not enough for a new barbell rack in the garage.

This bill has not been approved but it has strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, and it is also being backed by multiple health and fitness organizations.

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There’s a bipartisan effort in congress to give people a tax break as an incentive to stay in shape and live a healthy lifestyle. 

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.,: “Regular physical activity is associated with greater physical well-being, longer lifespans, and improved mental health.”

The PHIT Act would allow Americans to use pre-tax money in a health savings account or flexible spending account to pay for gym memberships, personal trainers, or workout equipment to use at home. There would be a 1,000 dollar annual limit for individuals and 2,000 for married couples. 

The bill’s sponsors cited research that showed people who exercise during middle age can save 1,500 dollars a year or more on health care expenses after they retire. 

Sen. John Thune: “Unfortunately, despite exercise’s significant health and even financial benefits, a lot of American adults – and children – either don’t exercise at all or don’t get enough exercise. There are a number of reasons for that, of course, but one disincentive to exercising can be the cost of some exercise equipment and programs.

Families could use the money to pay for youth sports registration and the equipment needed to play. But there are limits to make sure this isn’t abused. It couldn’t be used  to pay for a golf or sailing club membership, and it won’t cover that new putter. There’s also a $250 limit per item for equipment – so it’s not enough for a new barbell rack in your garage. 

This bill has not been approved but it has strong bipartisan support in both the house and senate, and it is also being backed by multiple health and fitness organizations. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan.