Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Yankees moving to Florida?

Makes sense to me:

Who can blame him? Florida has no personal income tax, while New York's rate for the top bracket is 6.8%, rising to 12.15% in New York City (including temporary surtaxes that expired in 2005; the combined rate is now 10.5%). That makes for one of the worst tax burdens in America -- and politicians are proud of it. Mayor Michael Bloomberg boasts that his city is a "luxury good" for which everyone should happily pay higher taxes.

New York tax laws also take a notoriously wide view of "residency." Literally tens of thousands of people only work in-state Tuesday to Thursday each week to avoid spending the requisite 184 days per year that would subject their full income to the state tax regime. And Albany's taxmen try to catch them with things like travel records, credit-card usage and phone logs.

New York doesn't claim that Mr. Jeter has avoided taxes on the salary he's earned in-state -- i.e., his 10-year, $189 million Yankee contract. New York's complaint is in pursuit of the additional millions a megastar like Mr. Jeter makes from endorsement deals and the like, as well as from his investments.

According to court filings, state auditors don't dispute that his primary residence was in Florida before 2001 or after 2003, or even that he spent most of the year down south over the target period. Rather, they're employing the more subjective "domicilery test." They point to Mr. Jeter's Manhattan apartment, his "numerous public statements professing his love for New York," and allege he has "immersed himself in the New York community." Gosh.

Yankee owner George Steinbrenner is also a primary resident of Florida, no doubt for the same reasons as Mr. Jeter and who knows how many other professional athletes. Given the lengths New York is going to extract its pound of flesh, it's a wonder New Yorkers even have teams to root for.

The following clip is Jeter in drag; maybe this garb can lower his profile a bit.

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