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READ THEIR LIPS: MLB OWNERS TO ASK FOR NEW TAXES?
Published September 6, 1996
The "operative issue" that MLB owners claim stands in the way of a labor deal with the players is the "second-tax free year," according to Murray Chass of the N.Y. TIMES. But "the ease with which owners questioning a possible deal have moved from service time to a second tax-free year has raised the question" if the issue is a "genuine potential deal breaker," or a way for owners opposed to the deal to ruin it. The answer could "become clear" when baseball's ruling Executive Council meets in Chicago next Wednesday. The tax-free year would take affect in 2000 with a union option for 2001, which would mark the second year free of a luxury tax on player payrolls. According to one unidentified owner, some owners don't like the sun-setting of a tax for one year, "let alone two." The owner: "What kind of tax system comes and goes away? The salary cap doesn't disappear in the NBA. We could be back in the same mess and it might make it worse." Chass notes the union has given owners concessions for the option on the second tax-free year in 2001, but the question remains if enough owners, 21 are needed for ratification, "believe the exchange is worthwhile, or will the agreement's opponents do enough damage to undermine the deal" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6). DOING SOMETHING RIGHT: A poll on ESPN's SportsZone asked fans if they like the MLB's wildcard system. Of respondents, 84% said yes, 16% no. When asked if they liked the wildcard when it was first introduced last year, 63% said yes, while 37% said no ("Baseball Tonight," ESPN, 9/5).