Michael Schaus

I told you I wasn’t watching the State of the Union. Reruns of Dexter were far more genuine. Besides, a quick read through the transcript (later today) will save me the frustration of listening to roughly 45 non-consecutive minutes of applause.

Which is why I thought it might be appropriate to give a real life example of good-old-American “taxation without representation” instead of anguishing over disingenuous political ramblings.

In case you haven’t heard, the Broncos will be playing the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s Super Bowl. (Seriously: Read a paper once in a while.) And despite the fact that a number of cities have been turned down for the yearly event because of fears over adverse weather, this year’s event will be taking place in New Jersey. Jersey, unlike the sunshine state of Florida, is apparently one of many states that feel justified (and not the least bit British) in taxing pro-football players for having the privilege of setting foot on New Jersey soil.

According to nj.com:

They call it the "jock tax," and New Jersey is not the only state that targets the multimillion-dollar paychecks of professional athletes. From California to New York, state tax authorities routinely take a percentage of the salary out of every visitor’s locker room.

So, let’s put this in perspective. After all, we’re talking about people that earn tens of millions of dollars to play a Sunday afternoon game. Get out your slide rule: This is where math class comes in handy.

New Jersey will take the total number of days a player (Say… Peyton Manning) stays in the state in 2014, and divide it by the number of “duty days” state officials consider appropriate (roughly 235). This is then used to calculate the percentage of Manning’s total yearly income that is eligible for New Jersey’s tax rate of roughly 9 percent.

Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is communications director at the Nevada Policy Research Institute and is responsible for managing the organization’s messaging with the public, the media and NPRI’s membership.

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