Golf champion claims higher California tax, end of tax cuts takes 60% of income

6:10 PM, Jan 23, 2013   |    comments
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TORREY PINES, CA - Phil Mickelson is torn; the professional golfer said in recent days he may move out of California because voters approved a higher income tax on the wealthy.

The native San Diegan emphasized Wednesday that he shouldn't have talked about it until he had a plan in place.

"My apology is for talking about it publicly because I shouldn't have taken advantage of a forum I have as a professional golfer to try to ignite change over these issues," Mickelson said.

The four-time major champion said higher state taxes, plus an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at the federal level, will take 60 percent of his income. State Republicans always said higher income taxes gives the wealthy an incentive to leave California.

"I'm sad to lose Phil if that actually happens, but I have a sinking feeling that other Californians are going to do the same thing," Minority Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, said.

A majority of PGA Tour players live in Florida and Texas, where they have no state income tax, lower taxes is what drove native Southern Californian and former Stanford student Tiger Woods to the Sunshine State.

"I moved out of here in what? '96? For that reason," Woods said.

Interestingly, though, the tax debate heats up just as California is on track to take in $4 billion above forecast for the month of January.

Democrats said a move like Mickelson's or Woods' is the exception, rather than the rule.

"There's no evidence that I've ever seen that higher tax rates caused any significant exodus of wealthier people from California," Asssm. Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, said. "The fact is people love being in California."

By Nannette Miranda, ABC7


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