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Planet Fitness CEO Says Taxes May Drive Him Out Of N.H.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR
Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau along with former N.H. Govenor Craig Benson (right) plea to legislators to change tax code.

One day after Planet Fitness announced it was going public, the New Hampshire-based gym tells legislators it might not be able to afford to stay in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley introduced a measure Wednesday hoping to keep the company here, by exempting businesses from being taxed on the share they sell to a corporate partner once they go public.

Currently 200 corporate jobs would be lost if the company moved headquarters. The company, which began in Dover in 1992, has more than 950 locations nationwide.

CEO Chris Rondeau says he wants to stay but the tax is too big a burden. “It would be cheaper to pay the raise to cover an income tax to move across the border. It’s that great of a tax that its hard as a CEO to recommend staying,” he told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Former Governor of N.H. Craig Benson, who referred to himself as an informal company advisor, spoke in favor of the measure.

Bill Ardinger, a tax attorney from Rath, Young and Piganelli, also testified. He urged legislators that without a change to the provision start-up companies will be discouraged from moving into New Hampshire.

But Revenue Commissioner John Beardmore says this move is not equitable. “Our concern is that this amendment to the provision erodes fairness and creates what could be going forward a loophole available to other businesses who are sophisticated enough and valued enough to avoid a provision of the tax,” Beardmore told the committee.

Senate President Chuck Morse later proposed his own amendment saying it is a working progress, but hopes the change will promote more businesses to come to the state.

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