Millions of Americans exercise and relax at tax-exempt health and fitness clubs. Like taxpaying clubs, these facilities promote health and physical fitness, but they do not pay taxes. Furthermore, they can accept donations from individuals and corporations who receive tax deductions for their contributions.
In effect, all taxpayers subsidize a tax-exempt health club’s ability to enjoy this preferential treatment, and all taxpayers pay higher taxes because of the exemption exists.
According to the County Assessor, James Carmichael, if the YMCA paid its share of taxes on its two fitness centers in downtown and northwest, the City of Muncie would receive over $220,000 in annual property tax revenue. This additional monies could support community wide programs for all Muncie citizens to enjoy, and implement policies that could improve our overall wellness figures,
As mentioned in previous articles, when people give to the Muncie Family YMCA, they are taking money away from those charitable organizations who provide programming to our under-served markets like the Buley Center, Ross Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, PAL Club, etc.
The YMCA abandoned the south side of Muncie in 2010 and ignores the entire northeast quadrant.
Our community is in dire need of money to support existing public services, and improve public health and wellness. We need to invest in new programs that will help make us more attractive to employers and small businesses.
If the YMCA’s were located within our under-served markets and were assisting those areas to improve their health and wellness, we would not bother writing articles. However, this is not the case in Delaware County. They have enjoyed tax exempt status and draw from a $5 million trust fund established by the founders. The CEO, Cathy Clark, draws an annual salary of $120,000 plus insurance, pension, and benefits.
The YMCA has made no impact on our health and wellness.
The recent release of the County Health Ranking reveals that our community health has declined to the bottom of the State. We’re now 85th out of 91 counties. The YMCA has failed its mission and is clearly focused on providing services to a small percentage of our community targeting the more affluent Northwest Delaware County – it’s clearly a fitness club, so let it be taxed accordingly.
As a result of their preferential treatment, the Muncie Family YMCA:
• Undermines its charitable purpose
• Creates inequity in the marketplace
• Hinders the growth of private sector jobs
• Fails to comply with IRS rules for Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).
• Erodes our community’s tax base
Why is 95% of the community subsidizing fitness club memberships for the other 5%, and why are we allowing a business to avoid paying taxes when their programs are not effective and have proven to fail the community?
We urge you to write a letter or call your City Council Representative, and request that the Muncie Family YMCA, under the leadership of Cathy Clark, start paying its fair share of taxes so that our public officials can create programs that make a positive impact on our health and wellness.
To determine which City Council member represents you, please visit http://www.cityofmuncie.com/index/City-Muncie-Departments/City-Council.