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Dave Mortensen, left, Erik Lindseth of Life Time Fitness, Sen. Katie Sieben and Chuck Runyon gathered for a photo at Anytime's corporate celebration event. Star Gazette photo by Katrina Styx

Anytime Fitness celebrates awards, highlights Minn. health initiative

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Hastings Star Gazette
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The Hastings-based corporation, Anytime Fitness, is celebrating. The company recently earned three major recognitions, and legislation it is championing along with Snap Fitness and Life Time Fitness is making its way through the state legislature.

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On Thursday, Aug. 29, Anytime Fitness hosted a party to celebrate being named "The World's Fastest-Growing Fitness Club" for the sixth year in a row. It was also named "One of America's Most Promising Companies" by Forbes magazine in February and was ranked No. 6 on Entrepreneur Magazine's "Top Global Franchises" list for 2013.

At the same time, the company invited Sen. Katie Sieben to speak about upcoming legislation to encourage people to be more active and healthy.

Anytime Fitness partnered with its competitors, Life Time Fitness and Snap Fitness, to form Fit Minnesota, a coalition that seeks to improve the health of all Minnesotans and reverse upward trending obesity rates. Together, they're working on the state level to allow small businesses to get tax subtractions from their taxable income on funds used to provide health incentives like gym memberships to employees.

Currently, large businesses and corporations that have athletic facilities in the workplace, for use by employees and their families, may be both tax deductible and considered a non-taxable fringe benefit to employees. Smaller businesses that can't afford to have an on-site facility can offer to pay for their employees athletic club membership fees, but that payment is not tax deductible for the employer and is included in the taxable income for the employee, making it more difficult for small businesses to offer the same health benefits as their larger counterparts.

The legislation Anytime, Snap and Life Time stand behind would change that by offering the same tax deductions to those businesses that don't have on-site facilities.

Sieben is helping move the legislation forward in the state Senate, hopefully getting the bill a hearing this session. Last year, Rep. Denny McNamara joined the push to get the bill introduced.

Leaders of the health movement tried to get legislation passed at the federal level, but the idea never gained any ground there, Sieben explained. So they started working at the state level, hoping it gains ground here.

Ideally, the movement would spread beyond Minnesota borders.

"This is not just a Minnesota issue, this is a national issue," Sieben said.

For more about Fit Minnesota, go to http://fitmn.org.

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Katrina Styx
Katrina Styx has been a reporter for the Hastings Star Gazette since 2010. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. Prior to coming to Hastings, Katrina reported for weekly newspapers in Jordan, Minn., and River Falls, Wis.
(651) 319-4501
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