published Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Phil Mickelson's tax concerns make sense

Pro golfer Phil Mickelson took criticism for implying he might move his family from California to save millions of dollars a year in taxes.
Pro golfer Phil Mickelson took criticism for implying he might move his family from California to save millions of dollars a year in taxes.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If you could make $6 million a year just by moving to a different state, wouldn't you do it?

Sure, almost everyone would.

Still, that didn't keep golfer Phil Mickelson from receiving waves of unreasonable criticism for implying that he might move his family in order to save millions of dollars a year.

Last week, Mickelson reflected on how much government is taking from his paycheck. "If you add up all the federal and you look at the disability and the unemployment and the Social Security and the state, my tax rate is 62, 63 percent," Mickelson said. "I've got to make some decisions on what I am going to do."

In California, where Mickelson resides, the state income tax on high income earners, the tax rate was recently hiked from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent.

Mickelson earns about $5 million annually on the course and much, much more in endorsements. In 2012 alone, companies including Titleist, Ford, KPMG, Callaway, Barclays and Rolex paid Mickelson an estimated $43 million in endorsements, according to Forbes magazine.

If all of Mickelson's earnings are subject to the California income tax, he'll soon be sending $6.4 million to Sacramento to cover his 2012 state tax bill. It's no wonder that Mickelson is considering relocating to a lower tax state.

When news spread that the four-time major tournament champion golfer was floating the idea of moving from his native San Diego, he was lambasted for being insensitive and out of touch. Mickelson later caved to the criticism and apologized for bringing up his steep tax tab -- twice.

But he shouldn't have. Mickelson was simply acting wisely and rationally by recognizing that eight states in America -- including Tennessee -- provide, by and large, the same services and amenities as California, but impose no state income tax.

If Mickelson finally comes to the realization that it's not worth paying more than $6 million a year just for the ability to call California "home," we'll be glad to have him in Tennessee.

California's loss will be the Volunteer State's gain.

23
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
AndrewLohr said...

Yeah. 63%? At what level does the ban on slavery kick in? 49% makes intuitive sense to me.

January 31, 2013 at 1:12 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The total tax hike in Scandinavia is pretty high and yet the people there seem well pleased with the bargain. They consistently rate among the happiest and best governed in the world.

Anyone who measures quality of life by low taxes has a serious values issue.

January 31, 2013 at 1:29 a.m.
gjuster said...

Really Nanuck? Are you saying the Phil can't live the same quality of life in TN or FL as in CA plus have an extra 6 mill in his pocket? In fact, even without the extra cash, he would be better off out of Greece on the west coast. My values of keeping my money for myself to do what I wish with it is just fine.

January 31, 2013 at 7:34 a.m.
nucanuck said...

gjuster,

Taxes should not be a primary driver of where you choose to live. If you are choosing between Portland Or and Midland Tx, you wouldn't care about the tax differential. If you are choosing between Zurich and Atlanta, no amount of tax differential would tilt you toward Atlanta. That assumes that the chooser is sensitive to quality of life issues.

When my wife and I retired, we chose Victoria BC as having the most of what was important to us. The taxes here are much higher and we have less money to spend than we would have many other places, but we get other things that to us make the tax rate a bargain.

There is no doubt more to the Phil Mickelson story than this light weight editorial covers. My guess is that the total tax take/ differential has been exaggerated to make a good story.

January 31, 2013 at 8:52 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

I applaud Andrew's concern about slavery. He can rest assured that the TN legislature will soon make it legal again just as their corporate owners want them to do.

January 31, 2013 at 9:53 a.m.
gjuster said...

Actually Nanuck I partially agree with you - I chose TN for taxes and for it's beauty. I pay double taxes for living in the city - my choice. For Phil - it's his choice. What really bothers me is that he apologized for his tax comments - why? he didn't say anything wrong.

January 31, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.
nowfedup said...

But he shouldn't have. Mickelson was simply acting wisely and rationally by recognizing that eight states in America -- including Tennessee -- provide, by and large, the same services and amenities as California, but impose no state income tax."

Yep just look at how ole TN, and others rate on medical, health, poverty, TOTAL taxes per income (sales taxes, fees etc) and then it is rather obvious some folks have never been to CA

January 31, 2013 at 10:59 a.m.
Walden said...

As long as I live, I will never understand a private-sector human being who defends confiscatory tax rates.

January 31, 2013 at 11:40 a.m.
conservative said...

Walden, they don't pay them. Don't believe for a moment that nucanuck and other Liberals/Socialists/kooks are paying confiscatory taxes.

They all live on the programs largely financed by others. There is not a chance they are paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits.

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." by Frederic Bastiat, 1848

January 31, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
Walden said...

You're right conservative. The fact that supporters of high taxes don't pay them in the first place makes it all the more amoral.

January 31, 2013 at 4:44 p.m.
Walden said...

Mickelson never should have apologized for his comments. I guess he's just too nice a guy...

Nobody should ever, ever apologize for wanting to hold onto more of what they rightfully earn. The fact that our Government thinks it can reach as deep into our pockets as it already does is scary.

January 31, 2013 at 4:48 p.m.
Easy123 said...

"they don't pay them. Don't believe for a moment that nucanuck and other Liberals/Socialists/kooks are paying confiscatory taxes."

Actually, they do. You are deluded.

"They all live on the programs largely financed by others. There is not a chance they are paying more in taxes than they receive in benefits."

False. More delusion from you.

January 31, 2013 at 4:59 p.m.
conservative said...

Mickelson apologized for monetary reasons. Sports writers are Liberal and envious of many sports figures who make a lot of money. Their constant criticism would surely have cost Mickelson endorsement money.

Follow the money, it is always the money.

January 31, 2013 at 5:02 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Walden,

"You're right conservative. The fact that supporters of high taxes don't pay them in the first place makes it all the more amoral."

Many supporters of higher taxes do pay them. Morals play no part.

January 31, 2013 at 5:04 p.m.
Easy123 said...

"Sports writers are Liberal and envious of many sports figures who make a lot of money."

Demonstrably false.

"Their constant criticism would surely have cost Mickelson endorsement money."

No, it wouldn't. Mickelson wasn't even being criticized by sports writers.

January 31, 2013 at 5:08 p.m.
conservative said...

Question: Why do most people go to an all you can eat restaurant?

Answer: They go because they plan to eat more than they pay for.

They wouldn't ordinarily pay say $8.95 for $5.95 of food. They have every intention of getting their money's worth so they eat like it is their last meal.

That price they pay is analogous to federal taxes some have to pay.

Get it?

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else." by Frederic Bastiat, 1848

January 31, 2013 at 5:28 p.m.
conservative said...

Maybe this will help you Liberals who don't get it.

All you can eat restaurants is the great fiction through which everbody endeavors to eat at the expense of everybody else.

January 31, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.
nowfedup said...

It will not happen, but would be very interesting to see what his taxes really are as a percent of total income, which none dare ask. Wonder why silence on that one, and amusing childish posts about taxes as if without them we could all just pass collection plate for government functions. Not to hard to ID those with perhaps 6th grade, at best, education. But you do amuse the more advanced and civilized folks, although you do sound like not to protective or contributing members of society.

January 31, 2013 at 11:02 p.m.
jesse said...

Actually nucanuck don't have a horse in this race!He moved to Canada for reasons known only to hisownself!IF he was a TRUE BELIEVER he would have stayed in the U.S.A. and paid his fair share! Maybe they got more trees to HuG in Canada!!

February 1, 2013 at 1:49 a.m.
Walden said...

"Many supporters of higher taxes do pay them. Morals play no part."

Sure they do, but not the rates they want others to pay! Morals absoulutely play a part. Ever heard of coveting someone else's property?

February 1, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

nucanuck said... "Anyone who measures quality of life by low taxes has a serious values issue."

You measure your quality of life by how much the government can give you.

That sounds like a SERIOUS VALUES ISSUE to me!

February 1, 2013 at 8:26 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

John_Proctor said... "I applaud Andrew's concern about slavery. He can rest assured that the TN legislature will soon make it legal again just as their corporate owners want them to do."

As you should. Giving about half of our income to government is slavery. You should be more grateful to your TN legislature for keeping your tax burden low. Oh, I am sorry, maybe you live in the city of Chattanooga, where you pay exorbitant taxes to compensate for the "pilots" created by your government for their "corporate owners".

February 1, 2013 at 8:35 p.m.
fairmon said...

I can't understand why he hasn't already left the great granola state. California is one state with a decreasing population, decreasing businesses and decreasing average income per capita. The divide between the haves and have nots is evident. California is generally one hell of a mess but trying to tell the rest of the country what they should do. San Francisco may be the queerest place on earth.

February 2, 2013 at 1:34 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.