To the editor:
This week, Rep. Jim Buchy, R-Greenville, and Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, are introducing a bill that would repeal the sales tax YMCA and other nonprofit health members pay for memberships.
Ohio’s nonprofit health facilities are operating for the good of the public and provide a needed service to more than 1.5 million Ohioans that should not be taxed. These facilities have grown to be a community resource so much more than just a gym. They are community nonprofits that provide chronic disease prevention, feed hungry kids, provide quality early childhood education, and more.
Ohio is one of only five states that tax nonprofit health memberships. YMCAs are nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations. Like nonprofit hospitals, YMCAs provide immense community benefit. In 2014, YMCAs contributed over $23 million in financial assistance to those who could not afford memberships. Over 29,000 volunteers donated over $2.8 million worth of time.
On a local level, the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA provides financial assistance to over 2,000 families and children; in addition the Y opens its doors to over 25 other organizations at no cost, which allows them to better fulfill their missions. On average, 400 to 500 individuals come to the Y each day to benefit from all that it has to offer. From swim lessons to child development and full day care to sports and wellness for all ages, the Y is about Youth Development, Healthy Living and for promoting Social Responsibility for all.
Ohio YMCAs should return to full tax exempt status, as they should be as 501(c)(3)s. Taxing memberships is inequitable and runs contrary to the organizations’ charitable purpose. A YMCA should not have to tax a member to use a treadmill when the Y does not pay tax to purchase the treadmill. As a resident of Ohio, we hope you agree and support this effort.
Ed Thomas, CEO
Sidney-Shelby county YMCA