BASEBALL'S TAX PLAN TO FACE UNION SCRUTINY
When the baseball labor negotiations resume tomorrow in
Washington, DC, striking players "expect the same old salary cap
with a new name" (Mike Shalin, BOSTON HERALD, 11/16). Owners
will likely propose a new plan that will include a "luxury tax"
to be imposed when a team exceeds a certain payroll. But "anyone
deliriously optimistic" about the new plan "hasn't been paying
attention to the negotiations in the month and a half hockey
lockout. The NHL has a taxing problem, and baseball is about to
get one." The MLBPA is unlikely to accept the proposal,
believing it would work as a salary cap and "inhibit" teams from
"spending the kind of money on salaries that would trigger such
taxes." Red Sox CEO John Harrington, who heads up the owners'
negotiating team, said "a tax concept can look like a salary cap,
and any tax plan is meant to put some controls on labor cost"
(Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 11/16). MLBPA General Counsel Gene
Orza "warned against optimism," saying there are "tax programs
that are worse than a salary cap and tax programs that are
better" (Tim Harper, TORONTO STAR, 11/16). Braves Player Rep
Tom Glavine said a luxury tax "would be nothing to get excited
about," adding "it would be another word for a salary cap" (I.J.
Rosenberg, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/16). LET'S GET IT DONE:
"Owners are working with a renewed vigor, afraid that if they
don't move quickly, they will lose next season as well." One
owner, on the lack of income: "We gambled the fans would love us
come hell or high water and it looks like we are losing that bet"
(Sherman & Miner, N.Y. POST, 11/16). Braves President Stan
Kasten said he plans to be in DC "for an extended time": "I did
not even attempt to make a return reservation" (I.J. Rosenberg,
ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 11/16).
PAYROLL FIGURES RELEASED: Team payroll figures were
released by MLB's Player Relations Committee. The total amount
paid to players would have gone up less than 3% if a full season
had been played. The Yankees had the highest payroll in the
league at $47,512,342, but only paid out around $34M because of
the strike. The Padres had the lowest league payroll, paying out
only $9.8M on over $13M of salaries (I.J. Rosenberg, ATLANTA