A slam dunk for low taxes
Positive lessons from sports include dramatic demonstrations of how teamwork and perseverance can prevail over long odds.
Now a blockbuster National Basketball Association signing has provided an enlightening primer on the benefits of low taxes.
Dwight Howard, this offseason’s most highly sought-after NBA free agent, announced late Friday night — via Twitter, of course — that he had chosen to play for the Houston Rockets instead of staying with the Los Angeles Lakers.
At first glance, his decision appeared to have cost him $30 million over the next four seasons — the difference between the Rockets’ $88 million offer and the Lakers’ reported $118 million bid.
But California has the highest state income tax in the United States, with a top rate for the highest earners, obviously including Mr. Howard, of 13.3 percent.
Texas has no state income tax. Officials of the Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks repeatedly reminded Mr. Howard of that Lone Star State financial advantage in recent weeks.
So while conflicting accounting experts have been engaging in a debate about how much Mr. Howard will net from the Rockets and how much he would have netted from the Lakers, he’s not in line to take a $30 million loss..
Florida also has no state income tax. That has motivated plenty of highly paid pro golfers, including California natives Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, to live there.
And the Sunshine State’s lack of an income tax just might have had something to do with superstar free agent LeBron James and all-star free agent Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat three years ago.
Since Mr. James and Mr. Bosch went south, Miami has reached all three NBA Finals, winning the last two.
Big-time pro athletes aren’t the only ones who take states’ tax policies into account when pondering possible re-locations. Big businesses with big payrolls do that, too.
That doesn’t mean South Carolina legislators can necessarily afford to eliminate our state income tax. It does mean, though, that we can’t afford to overlook potential employers’ preference for low state and local taxes.
Because in the high-stakes competition for jobs, in or out of the sports arena, high taxes are a losing game.