Below you will find our legislative priorities and recommendations for the 131ST General Assembly (2015-2016).

OUR NONPROFIT SERVICES SHOULD NOT BE SUBJECT TO SALES TAX

As part of the YMCA’s commitment to healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility, we support all efforts to remove barriers to lifelong health and wellness.  Ohio is the only one of five states in the nation that charges sales tax on nonprofit fitness memberships (like YMCAs).

Ohio YMCAs ask to return to full tax exempt status, as they should be as 501(c)(3)s.  Taxing memberships is inequitable and runs contrary to our organizations’ nonprofit purpose.  Dollars Ys pay to government for sales tax could be used to provide more scholarships to those who cannot afford a full price membership, help more people prevent and treat chronic diseases like diabetes, and keep our membership rates lower.

With dramatically increasing healthcare costs, Ohioans need incentives to get healthy and stay healthy.  Let us do more of what we do best.  A YMCA should not have to tax a member to use a treadmill when the Y does not pay tax to purchase the treadmill.

WE HELP COMMUNITIES IMPROVE CHILDHOOD HEALTH

The Y is not just a gym.  It’s a place where children learn from an early age about healthy eating and physical activity that helps prevent childhood and adult obesity.  Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in Ohio.  According to national estimates, 30-34% of Ohio’s children age 10-17 are overweight or obese.

In partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and YMCA of the USA, the Ohio Alliance of YMCAs is leading a collaborative called Pioneering Healthier Communities Ohio (PHC Ohio).  PHC Ohio is a diverse group of statewide partners working to create fair opportunities for children to access healthy food and physical activity.

The primary goal of this initiative is to improve childhood health through sustainable and systemic change.

Across the country, YMCA child care centers are implemented Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards.  HEPA sets goals for (1) the nutritional quality of the foods and beverages provided in early childhood and school age care , (2) the amount of physical activity children and youth accumulate while attending these programs, (3) engaging parents of the children and youth in our child care programs, and (4) limiting screen time for program participants.

As YMCAs implement these standards, and as other health-conscience child care centers reach similar goals, our children benefit by improved learning and health.  Ohio’s tiered quality rating and improvement system (Step Up to Quality) should acknowledge centers that achieve these health-related goals.

There is a relationship between health and the built environment.  How healthy we are often reflects the way our buildings and neighborhoods function.  We can improve lives and foster healthy outcomes by changing our approach when building cities, streets, and places.  The federal government invests little in this work, and Ohio invests even less.  Ohio must prioritize and fund Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets, which enable children and families to safely walk and bike to school and throughout their communities.  These infrastructure improvements also make Ohio communities more attractive to businesses looking to settle in our state.

For more information about the entirety of our work, please visit our website here.

YMCAs ARE CAUSE-DRIVEN ORGANIZATIONS

Across Ohio, YMCAs are the cornerstone of many local communities.  At the Y, families come together, volunteers give countless hours, and children thrive, all regardless of income.  We impact many lives in a myriad of ways.

Critical to our mission work is our charitable status.  We not only provide programs vital to strong communities, such as early learning and school age programs, but also give back.  Income is not a determinant to become a Y member.  We give scholarships to thousands of Ohioans each year.  In 2013, Ohio Ys gave over $23 million in scholarships to community members, and 30,000 Ohioans volunteered thousands of hours of their time because they believe in the Y.

Please support our mission and protect our charitable, tax-exempt status.

SUPPORTING ONE CHARITY OVER ANOTHER

While we support tax incentives that encourage charitable giving, specific income tax check offs that favor one charity over another set a poor precedent and leave Ohio’s nonprofits on uneven footing with one another.

We support our colleagues in charitable work, and partner with many of them to further their missions as well as our own.  Yet, if the state were to overtly support one charity over another with the option of a tax donation check off on personal income tax forms, every other charity would be disadvantaged.  We ask the state not to hurt one charity to help another.

 

©2004-2017 Ohio Alliance of YMCAs