Phil Mickelson's tax concerns make sense

Phil Mickelson's tax concerns make sense

January 31st, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

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/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.