To say that I am a fan of the San Francisco Giants is an understatement.
24 Willie Mays Plaza is perhaps my favorite place on Earth. I make the trek down to AT&T Park at least half a dozen times each year. Visit my den at home and you’ll see bookcases filled with Giants memorabilia proudly displayed.
One of my favorite memories was playing hooky after the Giants won the 2012 World Series along with a couple of my friends to attend the championship parade in San Francisco.
As this is an “odd year,” the Giants are not celebrating an “Orange October” in 2017. The Orange and Black have some work to do this offseason as they gear up for another championship run in 2018.
According to the California Taxpayers Association, their effort could be hindered by California’s high tax burden.
Giants Executive Vice President Brian Sabean told the San Francisco Chronicle that many free agents don’t want to come to the Giants because of “the California taxes . . . That’s just a fact.”
High taxes make it harder for all California teams to attract elite athletes.
Former Angels player Torii Hunter infamously moved from California to Texas a few years back over taxes. Then-Astros player Carlos Lee reportedly chose a trade to the Marlins over the Dodgers because of Florida’s low tax rates.
Many athletes now live in Florida or other low-tax states. An accountant who represents athletes says that “the tax difference for a single professional athlete making roughly $10 million a year between being a resident of California versus Florida is around $800,000 annually.”
We even instigated the infamous “jock tax” here. State tax officials sent a tax bill to basketball legend Michael Jordan back in the day, arguing that he should have to pay taxes on the income he earned at the games played in California.
Former Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick (and my former boss) wrote in the San Diego Union-Tribune in 2012 that “it is Californians who suffer when athletes like Carlos Lee spurn California for Florida . . . (as) more people generating wealth in California means more tax revenue generated for our state and more dollars for critical budget priorities.”
Not only does California lose out on millions in tax revenue thanks to our heavy tax burden, our state may be losing out on championships because of it.
So, the next time we lament that the Giants or the Raiders failed to win the big game because they lacked a key player, don’t blame the team management. Blame the Legislature for imposing a high-tax burden that hurts hard-working Californians and makes it even harder for California teams to attract the elite players needed to bring home a championship.
Tim Anaya is communications director for the Pacific Research Institute.