Trump EPA Ends Taxpayer-Funded Gym Memberships

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Monday, June 19th, 2017, 5:20 PM PERMALINK

The Trump EPA under Scott Pruitt is ending taxpayer-funded gym memberships for agency employees. The move will save taxpayers $900,000 each year.

Documents brought to light earlier this year showed that the Obama-era EPA improperly purchased luxury gym memberships for agency employees. Americans for Tax Reform reported the EPA’s Las Vegas office used taxpayer funds to purchase $15,000 worth of gym memberships at 24 Hour Fitness for government employees.

Memberships included access to the gym’s “thousands of square feet of spectacular workout space, complete with premium gym equipment, unmatched amenities and some of the best studio classes around.”

As residents of Clark County, Las Vegas EPA employees already had – and still have -- access to UNLV’s state-of-the-art fitness center, which lifestyle magazine Vegas Seven named the “Best Fitness Center” in the city.

“We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year,” said Jahan Wilcox, EPA spokesperson. “Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment.”

The announcement underscores the Trump administration’s pledge to cut government waste and provide tax relief to millions of American families and businesses. Trump’s EPA budget proposal is $5.7 billion, a 31% budget reduction from the previous administration. In total, the Trump budget will reduce spending by $3.6 trillion over the next decade.

As noted by Pruitt on Fox and Friends, “It was the previous administration that granted those memberships.” Pruitt stated, “The key, with respect to how we restructure, is recognizing that Washington has become way too big.”

As reported today by E&E News, the EPA union bosses received a notice last week:

On Thursday, EPA union leaders received an email from an agency labor attorney saying the agency planned to stop funding for fitness subsidies and fitness centers by the end of next month.

"This serves as official notice that the agency will discontinue fitness subsidies and fitness center funding agency-wide, which will result in a savings of nearly $ 900K per year for the agency. Discontinuation of this funding is targeted for July 31, 2017," said the attorney in the email, which was obtained by E&E News.

Union officials expressed anger at the EPA notice.

ATR president Grover Norquist praised the move. “Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA has just saved American taxpayers $1 million each and every year. Kudos to him. Shame on the EPA bureaucrats who wasted taxpayer dollars. We need more leaders like Pruitt and fewer government employees who keep sticking their hands in the pocket of working Americans.”

 

 

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