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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

For Immediate Release: February 13, 2007

Senator Mike Mazzei
Senator Mike Mazzei

Bill to Give Tax Break for Fitness Club Fees Goes to Senate Floor

If a bill authored by Sen. Mike Mazzei makes it all the way to the Governor’s desk, Oklahoman’s could see both their waistlines and their taxes slim down. It’s one step closer to reality after the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 118 which provides an income tax credit equal to 20 percent of the cost of health or fitness club membership fees.

“The feedback I’ve gotten on this bill has been overwhelmingly supportive, with the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Heart Association among those speaking in favor of the legislation,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa. “The fact is, more than six out of ten Oklahomans are overweight, and more than one out of every four is obese. The cost to the individual and to our state is staggering. Instead of subsidizing bad behavior, we need to reward good behavior.”

Mazzei said the estimate for obesity-related adult medical expenditures for the total adult population of Oklahoma in 2003 was $854 million. He also pointed to a study that said the prevalence of obesity among Oklahoma adults has more than doubled since 1990.

“It is no coincidence that Oklahoma ranks 13th in the nation in obesity, and also ranks high in heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,” Mazzei said. “My hope is that by helping defray the cost of a health club membership, we can encourage Oklahomans to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes more exercise.”

The measure, which began as a suggestion from a constituent, now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.

For more information contact:
Senator Mazzei's Office - (405) 521-5675

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