It’s the beginning of January, which can mean only one thing in the health club business—you are busy. You’re busy preparing to handle the influx of New Year’s resolutioners looking to better their health. You’re busy experimenting with different ways you can retain the members you already have, and you’re busy determining what your business plan will be for the entire year.
With everything on your mind, you may have missed our Policy Chat on what the 2018 legislative session could bring and how it’s results could impact your business. That's why we created this review of IHRSA’s predictions for the year ahead. Knowing how to address issues that are just starting to take shape, could save you from having to re-plan and making further adjustments to your business strategy in the future.
Most state legislatures will go back into session right after the new year (only a few legislative bodies, such as the North Dakota legislature, are not meeting in 2018) and Congress will begin its second year of the 115th Congress.
To help you understand what issues may affect your business—along with the extent of how they could affect your business—we created a list of issues we expect to surface—or resurface—in 2018.
Tax Incentives for Small Business Wellness
Currently, Massachusetts and Maine have laws that provide a tax incentive to small businesses offering wellness programs. Over the past few years, several other states, such as Mississippi and New York, have considered this type of policy. We expect to see states introduce legislation incentivizing corporate wellness programs, and we will seek to protect wellness tax incentives if they are at risk of being repealed, notably the Massachusetts credit. Since wellness programs can include employers subsidizing health club membership for their employees, this policy is beneficial for the industry.
Physical Activity in Schools
Child health and physical activity continue to be high on states’ legislative priority lists. With a new New Jersey Governor to replace Governor Chris Christie—who vetoed recess legislation in the past—the legislature has an opportunity to try again and succeed in guaranteeing 20 minutes of recess for youth. Also, because of legislative trends we have seen in Arkansas and Louisiana, we predict those states will continue to focus on childhood obesity prevention by introducing physical education or activity proposals that encourage a more active generation.