SBD/January 21, 2013/Sports in Society

Phil Mickelson Sounds Off On Paying Higher Taxes, Says He'll Make "Drastic Changes"

Mickelson was "unclear" what changes he will make as a result of higher taxes
Golfer Phil Mickelson after his final round at the Humana Challenge yesterday said that he will "need to make 'drastic changes' after the state of California passed Proposition 30 last November," according to Ryan Lavner of GOLFCHANNEL.com. Mickelson said that he is "planning to discuss his situation in greater detail at next week’s Farmers Insurance Open." Mickelson: "I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do yet. I’m not going to jump the gun, but there’s going to be some drastic changes for me, because I happen to be in that (tax) zone that has been targeted federally and by the state. It doesn’t work for me right now, so I’m going to have to make some changes." Lavner wrote it is "unclear what exactly" Mickelson intends to do, "retiring from the game or moving to a different state are plausible options." Mickelson, when asked if the '12 Presidential election results played a role in his decision to sever ties with the Padres’ ownership group, replied “Yeah, absolutely" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 1/20). GOLF.com's Mike Walker noted Mickelson, "unlike most of his fellow PGA Tour players who live in tax-friendly states like Florida and Texas ... chooses to live in high-tax California." In addition to the "state tax increase, Mickelson is also looking at a higher federal income tax." Under the new federal tax laws, married couples making more than $450,000 will pay a federal income tax rate of 39.6%, up from 35%. Mickelson said, "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's 62, 63 percent. So I've got to make some decisions on what I'm going to do" (GOLF.com, 1/20).

LOSING HIS EVERYMAN APPEAL? Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said of Mickelson's comments, “I don’t know what Phil’s doing, bringing his laundry from his home. Have this conversation with your family and if you have to move, that’s fine. I don’t think people, Phil’s fans, the public, people that are struggling to pay rent, are worried about a millionaire’s problems.” Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella added, “He is the guy that seems so connected with the common man, and when saying these things like he said seems really disconnected from the common man” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/21). Golf writer Steve Elling wrote on his Twitter feed, "Mickelson will show up at Torrey with rehearsed, researched taxation spiel, but most folks feel no sympathy. He's risking serious skewering."
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