First Phil, now Fran: Yep, taxes are too high
The Kansas City Star
Most people aren’t inclined to weep over the tax problems of rich athletes, except that Phil Mickelson and now Fran Tarkenton are making a legitimate point: Too-high tax rates hurt the economy, and that hurts everyone.
Last month, Mickelson raised hackles in some quarters when he observed that thanks to recent federal and state tax increases (he lives in California), his top rate now exceeds 60 percent. He said high taxes might force him to make some “drastic changes” in his lifestyle. After he was criticized, he backed off and apologized.
But NFL Hall-of-Famer Tarkenton isn’t apologizing. In a piece Tuesday in USA Today, he said Mickelson is right: “If there’s anything that should upset or insult Americans, it’s just how much of their money the government takes.”
It’s easy to think that only famous personalities are affected by all the recent changes — including the new levies in Obamacare. But the relentless upward trend in taxes influences decisions made by countless people not only about where to live (“Hey. Florida has no income tax…”) or, if they’re in business, whether to hire more people.
Tarkenton: “A high income-tax state like California is not just driving away successful men and women like Mickelson, but driving businesses out, too. This ultimately results in even less tax revenue, which sinks California’s economy even more.”
Last month,The Wall Street Journal had a piece noting how much Tiger Woods saves by living in Florida. Sports Illustrated reported his gross income at more than $56 million, so living in Florida rather than California, with its 13.3 percent rate, saves him more than $7 million a year.
The question for California and other high-tax states is how many people are leaving because the tax rate is at least a contributing cause. Their sentiments don’t make the headlines. They just quietly vote with their feet.
It’s not hard to figure out why Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and several other governors want to lower or eliminate their states’ income tax altogether.