McFadyen’s Fitness Tax Credit for Adults – Really?
The bad public policy ideas are beginning to pile up as Manitoba’s provincial election shifts into overdrive.
A favorite of mine is Hugh McFadyen’s Fitness Tax Credit for adults. McFadyen’s plan will allow gym members to claim up to $500 of eligible costs for a maximum tax credit of $54.00. This policy was announced as part of the Conservative Economic Strategy. It comes with a price tag of $20 million.
Susan Auch, the Conservative star candidate in Assiniboia said that “Expanding the fitness tax credit would make organized physical activities more accessible and affordable for Manitobans of all ages”.
Really? Do they honestly believe adults are going to shell out $500 for a gym membership or join a hockey league to get $54 back at tax time?
Here’s how I see this one playing out.
People like me who are already committed gym goers will cash in. For several years now I have had a gym membership that costs me about $600 annually.
It is highly unlikely that the credit will inspire adults to join a gym. And it certainly isn’t going to help low-income families in greatest need.
This is $20 million out of the public purse put into the pockets of people who don’t need it.
Here’s an idea. Perhaps the Conservatives could allocate this $20 million toward their crime strategy. They could invest in the excellent community-based programs already providing much needed sport and recreation activities for high-risk youth in the inner city.
This could replace their current plan, which offers up no funding, promising only to “coordinate existing programs”.
Shauna MacKinnon is the Director of CCPA Manitoba