Run specialty retailers AND race organizers stand to benefit from a campaign launched in July by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) to promote the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act as a consumer-driven economic stimulus. SFIA joins its active lifestyle partners in the health and fitness, youth sports and outdoor recreation arenas in pushing for the inclusion of PHIT in the next COVID relief package.
PHIT would incentivize running by providing a 12 to 35 percent discount on physical activity expenditures through the use of pre-tax medical accounts. Race registration fees, health club dues, outdoor recreation fees and other expenses related to active lifestyles would be eligible for payment using an HSA or FSA. Currently, HSA/FSA account holders can pay for treatment of disease with their pre-tax money, but not for prevention via physical activity. PHIT has more than 100 supporters in congress, split evenly along party lines.
The campaign includes three components: Outreach to Congress by SFIA members and others, a social media campaign around #PassPHIT4 and a virtual advocacy day on July 22 hosting virtual meetings with Congress.
Similar to the hospitality industry, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) does not help the active lifestyle industry, due to the payroll requirements for loan forgiveness. The industry relies on seasonal employees and part-time help to organize races, run leagues and tournaments and other forms of physical activity and recreation. Encouraging investment in these industries will help sustain them in short term and provide a platform for a healthier America moving forward.
For more information on PHIT and the campaign to include PHIT in COVID stimulus: www.PassPHIT.org.